Originally posted on Linkedin

This will be short, sweet and to the point. I will not be voting.

The madness of requiring voters to vote at public booths, and in public places among public gatherings, potentially exposing voters to the coronavirus, is unfathomable. Unable to stop the local government, the Australian Medical Association Queensland president, Dilip Dhupelia, is calling for empathy towards those who are too fearful to vote during this pandemic and consideration given to waiving the $133 fine for those that do not vote.

Professor Nigel McMillan, who is the director of infectious diseases and immunology at Griffith University, said “It would seem to me the more sensible approach would be to delay this a couple of weeks and to do a postal vote for everyone… they should rethink this”.

In this darn age of everything-electric, why is it that Australia – once again – is lagging? Ever heard of the internet, which many of us have attached to our hips, or in our pockets, or dare I say it, in the palm of our hands? For long we have accepted postal voting. How about electronic voting? Even developing nations like India, Estonia, and Brazil, for example have had it in some form or another since the turn of the century!

Whilst no doubt such a system calls for a high-grade authentication system – akin to online electronic banking services – such a platform is very simple to develop by a small team in as little as a month. Previous attempts, such as those by the NSW government should be seen as a learning experience. During my investigation, however, I discovered that what has been holding this advance back is not technology, but rather skepticism. Some computing experts have argued for the broader notion that people cannot trust any programming they did not author.

For those who feel they cannot trust any “system” they did not author, I wonder whether you refuse to use a microwave or an electric toaster? Do you distrust the medical results provided by the pathology lab to your doctor? Do you trust when you transfer funds from one bank account to another, that the funds will be made available to the second party. And lastly when you board a recent model vehicle, electric or otherwise, that it will deliver you safely to your destination. You see, in all of these instances, a microprocessor or computer is involved to execute a set of instructions.

Whilst our confidence in results may vary, this is not a good reason to avoid technology altogether. Unfortunately, though, I see technophobia alive and well wherever I go. From people refusing medical treatment, to refusing to use a microwave or taking a plane because of the fear and distrust in technology, even though in many cases the technology has proven to be more reliable and even saved lives.   

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