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You soon could be able to vote with a selfie

New app could increase young voter turnout

You soon could be able to vote with a selfie
21 April 2017

Voting isn’t always convenient, is it? You have to go all the way to the polling station and pick up a pen and put the cross in the box and then put the paper in the box. Loads of steps, there. Loads.

So you’ll be happy to hear that voting could be about to get a whole lot easier, with tech company Smartmatic proposing an app that allows people to cast their votes via selfie.

The app would use “facial biometric data” alongside an ID card to create a digital profile unique to a user. You’d log in using a selfie before casting your vote from anywhere in the world. And the company’s programme manager told BBC Newsbeat that their app has “huge potential” and that the company are receiving “a huge amount of interest”.

They’re keen to increase voter turnout – especially amongst young voters. Some data put 18-24 year old turnout at the EU referendum at only 36%, a number many campaigners believe would increase given the option of electronic voting.

“There is an overwhelming reduction in participation in elections because people are more mobile now, so we see an opportunity to strengthen the process, to make it more accessible,” he said.

Many countries already use electronic forms of voting – in Uganda, people can use their fingerprint to vote – but issues around cybersecurity have already proved a stumbling block. Votes were previously counted electronically in the Netherlands, but concerns around security have led to a reversion to traditional hand-counting. 

The app is currently in beta, and the government have no plans to introduce electronic voting – but anything that gets people registered to vote and actually voting is a winner for us.