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Allow online voting for soldiers

Election Day is coming up Nov. 2, and for many of us, that means a stop on the way to or from work to spend five minutes casting a ballot. For many of us, the five minutes will be too much of a bother and we won't do it.

But there is a group of people who take citizenship and freedom very seriously, yet their ability to vote is curtailed by duty. Soldiers stationed abroad often have a hard time with registering to vote or casting a ballot, largely because of the logistical challenges of getting a ballot halfway around the world -- and then back again.

There's a simple and obvious solution -- let them vote online. While moving a piece of paper to a mountaintop in Afghanistan is a huge challenge, getting a soldier to a communications area with Internet access is much easier.

We should all have online voting anyway. The idea that we can only exercise our right to vote if we can get to our designated polling place is outdated. The technology is here. If I can carry on encrypted face-to-face video calls over my cell phone, we can figure out a way to tackle the security challenges of online voting.

Online ballot opponents mainly argue that digital data isn't as secure as a piece of paper and doesn't have a natural ability to be recounted. But with hanging chads, disputed absentee ballots and countless recounts, it's not like paper ballots are infallible.

Let's move toward the, uh, 20th century, I guess. Let's accept online ballots, and let's start with soldiers.

The Pioneer Journal editorial is the voice of the newspaper's editorial board. Today's editorial was written by Steve Schulz, editor and publisher.