Direct Democracy: Part II - Liberal Resistance

Direct Democracy: Part II

Voting by Smartphone

a small step for voters

and a giant leap for Democracy


Virtual Reality2 Host and author Marc Keyser

These days the only thing smartphones don’t do yet is brush your teeth and wipe your butt. Smartphones are an essential part of daily living. We talk, we text, we take selfies, we Google, we post, we shop, we bank by phone… so why not vote by phone?

Voting by phone is finally here with the new Voatz ap.

Of all the advances in the telecommunication revolution, smartphone voting may be the most transformational. 

With the ease and speed of smartphone voting, we can hold a nationwide election and have the results within hours. With a simple voting ap on the phone, we can vote by phone and increase voter participation by eliminating the hassle, the inconvenience, and the long lines. Voting will be as easy, as convenient and as secure as banking online.

Gone are the days of taking time off work, driving to the polling station, standing in line, and trying to work through a long and complicated ballot in one standing. When you vote by phone, you vote when it’s convenient for you. You have access to information on the issues right there on your phone.

It’s so easy and so convenient to vote by smartphones, we can hold nationwide referendums. We can vote not just to elect candidates; we can vote directly on the issues that impact our lives.

We can curb the corruption in Washington. We put an end to the days when politicians had the power who tax and spend our money without our consent.

Why not vote on how much of our money our representatives can spend and who is to be taxed to pay for it? Why not make America a government that is actually based on the consent of the governed?

Voting by smartphone makes it easy for us to access information and vote directly on the issues that impact our lives…

We can, for example, vote on the Electoral College, this un-democratic, antiquated relic. The American people don’t actually elect the president. In the 2016 the people voted for Hillary Clinton by a margin of near 3 million voters, but the Elector College gave the election to Donald Trump.

Should the America people elect the president, or should a small group of unelected, unaccountable state delegates ignore the popular vote and chose the president?

Voting by smartphone, we can easily hold a national referendum and give voters the power to choose. Congress shall abolish the Electoral College. The President of the United States shall be elected by the popular vote of the people. Just tap the ap to vote Yes No

How about Campaign Financings. Should mega corporations and rich donors make unlimited contributions and buy our elections?

Unfortunately, far too many our representatives are nothing but paid political prostitutes who take millions in “campaign contributions”, which are nothing but bribes. They give their big donors the best representation money can buy at the expense of the American People. Corporations are not people, they should not make million-dollar campaign contributions

Campaign contributions that can be used to corrupt our elections are hereby limited to $1,000 per individual with no (zero) corporate contributions. Yes No

All Americans shall have affordable healthcare. The cost is to be covered by taxing mega rich corporations and billionaires.

Yes No

The initial stages of voting by smartphone are already in place.

WVNEWS.COM/NCWV MEDIA Overseas servicemembers from West Virginia and Denver voted using the smartphone app Voatz in the past year. Caucusgoers in Iowa and Nevada in February also will be able to vote by phone.

In his article Voting By Phone Is Easy. But Is It Secure? Next year, Democrats in two states can caucus using their phones, Matt Vasilogambros writes:

For the first time in a presidential election, voters in two upcoming Democratic caucuses will be able to vote using their phones.

The Democratic Party announced this month that Iowans and Nevadans in February will be able to vote using the keypads on their cellphones or landlines.

Party leaders say the change will make the caucus process more inclusive, especially for members of the military and others who can’t easily caucus in person, such as people with disabilities and voters who live in remote areas.

Some Americans already have voted by phone: Service members from West Virginia and Denver in the past year were able to participate in local elections using a smartphone app.

Many election officials, election technology companies and voting rights advocates support a phone-based system to make voting easier for millions of Americans.

But the convenience of voting by phone comes with risks. A few election security experts have vehemently warned against it, saying it opens elections to potential hacks and disruptions.

We bank by phone. It is not “risk free”; however, every effort is constantly being made by the banks to keep the system as secure as possible. Of course, the government must do the same with voting by smartphone, but online bank works around the globe.

The dilemma for states that might consider voting by phone is the conflict between accessibility and security. Voting rights advocates want to make casting a ballot as easy as possible. In general, Republicans who oppose it, win elections by people not voting.

The United States faces the threat of foreign interference in the upcoming 2020 presidential election

Opponents argue voting by smartphone opens the door to malicious actors, like the foreign intelligence agents who attempted to hack U.S. state and local voting systems during the last presidential race.

The banking system is a target for malicious actors, the banks must secure their financial systems… or go out of business.

One critic argues, “Did people not get any lessons learned from 2016?” “It’s really an odd time to be doing this.”

It’s odd that voting by smartphone is not already universal just like banking by phone.

“We expect it to take minutes, rather than hours,” said Shelby Wiltz, caucus director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. This is going to be a great option to get everyone to vote. It’s important that our whole Democratic community be involved in the decision make.

Voatz representatives say they have gone to great lengths to ensure their app is secure.

After downloading the app from Apple or Google stores, eligible voters can access their ballot by scanning both sides of their driver’s license using the phone’s camera. Voters use facial recognition software to take a 10-second video of their face, blinking and moving their heads slightly. Their fingerprint on the phone’s home button confirms their identity.

After the voting is complete, voters receive a password-protected email attachment with their vote receipt, which self-corrupts after a certain period. Counties receive a completed ballot with an anonymous identification number that is ready to be printed and counted with other ballots by credentialed election officials.

The encrypted vote is transmitted to 32 blockchain servers, hosted by Amazon and Microsoft, in several locations throughout the country.

To run post-election audits, the company partnered with ShiftState Security in West Virginia and with Colorado-based National Cybersecurity Center in Denver. To find potential security weaknesses in its software, it partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and the online community HackerOne.

The company is expected to release white papers about its security measures ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“The concerns are valid, but there are protections in place,” said Nimit Sawhney, co-founder and CEO of Voatz. “We are giving citizens the confidence that their absentee ballots made it and were counted without compromising their privacy.”

Electronic banking is risky…. For nerds who can’t work a smartphone everything about telecommunications is risky. Actually, voting by smartphone can be made more secure than antiquated voting machines, which can be hacked.

Making it easier to vote is a good thing. Empowering more people to participate is very much needed a step in the right direction.

Voting by smartphone is so easy and convenient, we should be able to do more than simply vote and elect politicians to tax and spend our money. We can vote in regularly scheduled national referendums on how much our representatives can spend and who is to be taxed to pay for it? We the People can vote by phone directly on government spending.

How does voting by smartphone work?

The Trump Tax cut was passed by members of Congress who took millions of dollars from special interests in exchange for trillion-dollar tax cut. So now most of the biggest and richest corporations in America don’t pay federal income taxes and some like Amazon get billion-dollar tax refunds. Thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, the government is about $779 billion dollars short this year. 

WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year2018, according to the Treasury Department, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.

The government doesn’t have the money to run the government now that the mega rich corporations and billionaires don’t pay their share of federal taxes.

When millions taxpays vote on the government’s yearly budget, they might be inclined to be more fiscally conservative when it comes to welfare for the rich with billionaires and mega rich corporations not paying their share of the tax burden.

Do you want to raise taxes on billionaires and mega rich corporations to balance the budget, so the government has the money to pay the bills and keep the lights on? Yes No

When millions of ordinary taxpayers vote on tax laws, they have the option to vote to increase taxes for the 1% and give ordinary working people a tax break instead.

Do you want to lower payroll taxes for workers, so people can keep more of the money they earn to live on each paycheck? Yes No 

The Trump obscene tax cut for big corporations has created an abundance of low paying, part-time jobs without health insurance; it has done nothing to increase wages and benefits for the majority of working Americans. This is something ordinary taxpayers should vote on.

When we vote by smartphone directly on taxes, the majority of taxpayers might see things differently.

Under the Constitution, we have a graduated income tax system: those who make more should pay more. The donor class bribe our representatives with campaign contributions. In reality, our representatives are really their representatives- paid off to give them tax cuts and political favors.

With the ability to vote in nationwide referendums, the vast majority of taxpayers might vote to tax the mega rich corporations and raise taxes on billionaires to be fair.

When we have a president who is a lying, corrupt, race-baiting White Nationalist inciting violence, enriching himself and selling the country out to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin who got him elected, people can do something about it.

When Congress fails to do its duty and impeach a morally depraved, mentally unstable, criminally corrupt public servant, voters can cast their vote to recall the president for high crimes and malfeasance. We the People can vote on the whether or not to remove the president from office… and have the results the same day.

Should President Trump be recalled for high crimes and malfeasance in office? Yes No

With a simple majority of 50% of the vote plus one the president is out. We don’t have to wait for a Special Prosecutor who can’t prosecute the president and Republicans in Congress who won’t impeach him… because they are as corrupt as he is.

The Voatz ap is a technological breakthrough that has the potential to expand our voting rights, empower People, and fulfill the promise of Democracy.

What may rise out of the ashes of Trump’s assault on our representative government is Direct Democracy promised since the founding of the nation. A government that is truly of the People, by the People and for the People where the People vote and give their consent before elected representatives can tax and spend. A Direct Democracy where we have frequent national referendums and We the People can vote to recall the President and members of Congress for high crimes and malfeasance in office.

With smartphone voting, we can transform our government into a true Democracy based on the consent of the governed. We the People can vote by smartphone and give our consent before elected representatives tax and spend our money… and have the results the same day.



Marc Keyser is a writer and activist who has pioneered the use of the cellphone as an instrument of mass protest. The opinions expressed here are his own.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.