Arizona primary draws thousands of Internet voters in spite of officials' security concerns

Arizona primary draws thousands of Internet voters in spite of officials' security concerns

By Trudy Walsh

GCN Staff

Maricopa County, Ariz., supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox cast the first binding Internet vote in an election for public office on Super Tuesday last month. Thousands of registered Democrats turned out for the March 7 Internet primary.

Although there were some problems'mainly slow server response and overloaded help desk phone lines'the two election Web sites received up to 20 votes a minute, Democratic Party officials said.

Internet voting went pretty well for the Arizona Democrats, but security concerns have made officials in Arizona and other states hesitant to adopt the option.

'We recognize that online voting is inevitable,' said Yvonne Reed, executive assistant in the Maricopa County Recorder's Office. 'It's just a matter of when.'

Reed said Arizona officials want to prevent any security breaches. For the general election on Nov. 7, Maricopa County will use a tried-and-true electronic scanning ballot system.

'The big question with Internet voting is how much do you trust the results if problems with digital signatures and voter verification haven't been worked out yet?' Reed said.

The Democratic Party worked to make sure the online voting process was as secure and valid as possible, Reed said.

Registered Democrats could access electronic ballots from either of two Web sites, www.election.com and www.azdem.org.

Voters entered a personal identification number they had received weeks earlier in the mail.

The county Recorder's Office made its voter registration files available to Democratic Party officials, but the county was otherwise not involved in the online election, Reed said.

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