There are an astonishing amount of tools, widgets, gadgets, plugins, and scripts available to help everyone know everything about the election. You can punch in your address to find your nearest polling place, see who of your friends have voted on Facebook, check out what people are saying around the country on Twitter, and more. Technology is basically doing everything for you short of casting your vote for you.
There is a big problem, though. Elections are still relying on old systems that could be upgraded and made more efficient using relatively simple technology. We know the live results for American Idol and other game shows that have millions of votes cast each night. We know the real-time statistics for website visitors, stock markets, and airlines… so why do we have to wait until polls close across the country to actually know who won?
Elections have billions of dollars flowing so why can’t some of this money be channeled into establishing an efficient and reliable reporting system that allows the likes of CNN, AP, and nytimes.com to report votes as they’re cast. The old ‘straw poll’ system is outdated and not always reliable.
Knowing election results in real-time could cause some problems. For example, if it seems only a certain demographic is voting due to inclement weather or some other reason, a candidate may make adjustments to bring in people of a different demographic (and vice versa). Knowing the potential faults of real-time election results, it still seems there is room to establish a generally accepted technology-based reporting system that lets people know the results in real-time or close to it.
What do you think? Should results for elections be known in real-time? Is the suspense at the time of poll closings worth keeping the current system? Would technology avoid another recount / hanging chad / controversial decision in the next election?
Weigh in down in the comments or by mentioning @edudemic on Twitter. I’ll be sure to post the best responses here!