WASHINGTON -- Voting through the Internet from home or the workplace has not yet received widespread acceptance. But don't tell that to Arizona Democrats.
They're very pleased with the heavy participation and enthusiasm for their March primary that pioneered the use of Internet voting.
"It was extremely successful," said Cortland Coleman, executive director of the Arizona Democrats. "It went better than we thought it could have gone. There were no security breaches."
Arizona Democrats have had inquiries from as far away as Japan and from many U.S. county and municipal governments about their effort, he said.
A report commissioned by the National Science Foundation and released Tuesday said voting through the Internet from home or the workplace should not be allowed in the near future. That method of voting still faces significant questions about security, reliability and social effects, the report said.
The study, which was requested by the White House in December 1999, comes as elections officials consider new technology after the problems of the 2000 elections.
The report urged elections officials to resist pressures to embrace remote Internet voting systems as the technological cure for the problems that afflicted the presidential election in November, such as faulty voting systems and inconsistent standards for ballot counting.
Internet voting at polling places, however, could offer such benefits as convenience and efficiency, while allowing elections officials to control security and technology, the report said. It recommended poll-site experiments.
The report was far more skeptical about voting from home or the workplace.
"E-voting requires a much greater level of security than e-commerce -- it's not like buying a book over the Internet," said C.D. Mote Jr., president of the University of Maryland and chairman of the committee that studied the issue. "Remote Internet voting technology will not be able to meet this standard for years to come."
At least a dozen states have legislation pending that requests studies of Internet voting. Several states have run election experiments in selected counties to test the idea.
Members of the committee said Arizona's Internet voting did not meet their security standards.
Voter turnout has dropped significantly over the last few decades, and Internet voting, with its convenience and advantages for the disabled, has been hailed by some as an answer.
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