Lateral thinking concerning Parliamentary elections, prompted this, and the way government, local government and advertising’ promulgate their information, on the assumption that everybody is on the Internet. It creates a two-tier system where some are disadvantaged. We have all seen it. The cleansing department no longer posts its arrangements through the letterbox, but relies on you finding out when the collection is, from the Internet. The National Health Service and many other services seem to operate on this misguided basis that we all have access to the Internet. If people consider libraries, Internet cafes, and using other people’s computers, then the assumption is accurate, but life just isn’t like that.
The other day I phoned in the reading on my electricity meter, and was amazed that the whole business was carried on electronically as if I was talking to a young woman. There were no problems the whole thing went smoothly. This made me think that the tedious business of going up to a school to make my mark in an election seems archaic. The whole idea of course is that everything has to be secure, but when parts of the United Kingdom work on the principle of ‘vote early and vote often’, I feel we should harness the system used by the electricity board. As far as I know we all have a Social Security number. If we were to add to that the year of our birth as two digits, our initials and three more digits of our own choice, have it recorded on the electoral roll, I feel that this, accompanied by the typical questions that were asked by the electricity board, would be adequate to provide security. We could telephone on voting day, to a number provided for the particular candidate of our choice, dial that number, answer the questions, and our vote would be cast. The phone calls, to prevent gerrymandering, would be recorded. All the calls would be local, and if there was some problem with the telephone traffic in high-density areas, even with alternative numbers for the same candidate, people could be given periods of time in which to vote, because they would have access to a telephone be they at work, at home or even visiting, through the day, I believe it will be to the interests of the voter, make counting a lot easier, and would not require this army of volunteers throughout the day. One even greater advantage would be that the thorny problem of referenda, either selective, or general, would be easier and cheaper to apply.