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The Voting Integrity Project is committed to monitoring and assisting the debate on Internet voting systems to guard against premature implementation. If the Internet is ever to be used to conduct public elections, it must be done in an environment of unquestioned integrity and represent a gain, not a loss, of public confidence and participation.

At this point in time, hype about Internet voting is obscuring valid questions. For example, if the public is persuaded that the Internet is so "secure," why then is the industry pressing urgently for stronger security procedures? And if a biometric fingerprint becomes the new password, why would it be any safer from theft or hijacking then current identifiers?

The debate on internet voting is also igniting a new push for fundamental change in our government structure. Some view the Internet as a catalyst for wholesale revision of our election system, which in turn could ignite a movement for change of our basic form of government.

But fundamentally, what is really gained by exposing our fragile election system to these new threats? Why not first concentrate on correcting existing problems, such as fraudulent registrations, before changing the election environment yet again?

Finally, however fast momentum and technology build toward Internet voting, it is essential that any system be tested sufficiently in small, non-governmental election environments before first use in a public election of any size.

One of the biggest contributors to election failures today is over-reliance by election officials on equipment manufacturers and suppliers for ensuring election integrity. If those legally tasked with protecting election integrity similarly defer to internet election suppliers, it could have disastrous results.

Since a day in the world of cyberspace can represent "light years" of technology development, the country will best be served by a careful, methodical public debate of all issues surrounding Internet voting before proceeding to implement changes which may undermine our entire system of government. Only when the critical issues of security, access and public confidence have been fully addressed should any U.S. jurisdiction open the Pandora's box that Internet voting could represent.

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