On Thursday, a new law was passed allowing citizens to vote by cell phone. Cool, huh? Too bad it wasn't by the U.S. To know who the bold, forward-thinking country is, you have to look further east. Japan? Nope, too far. Try Estonia.
That's right. In the next parliamentary elections in 2011, everyday Estonians will be able to cast their ballots via mobile phone. And why not? Techno-elections are nothing new in this Baltic country. Last year, its citizens got to vote on the web.
I can't help being kind of jealous. I mean, really: If American Idol can corral and count millions of texts in one night, why did Americans have to wait in line for hours last month at various presidential polling places? And we still haven't resolved controversies over the flawed Diebold voting machines that have plagued our last two elections.
Even though my inner voice is screaming, "It's not fair!!" I am soothed a little by Engadget's musings on the topic: On the one hand, cellular voting could save a lot of money and boost voter turnout. On the other, it could make stealing an election an irresistible temptation for hackers. At least we have a real live example to study before we take the plunge ourselves.
It'll be really interesting to see what happens in 3 years.