iPad Democracy: With New Online Voter Registration, Canvassers Go Paperless

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Democracy just got an iPad upgrade: Citizens of San Francisco are now being greeted by campaign volunteers with tablets who can perform same-day signups through California’s new online voter registration system. Facebook investor Ron Conway and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee were out registering citizens yesterday to promote the city’s new push to have the most innovative government. Earlier Tuesday, Conway’s technology advocacy group, sf.citi, released a video of famous tech founders expounding all the ways in which homegrown technology could enhance government services (such as the notoriously difficult transit system).

Prior to California’s adoption of pure online voting, citizens who used the Internet to register to vote still had to follow through with paperwork at home. An experimental analysis of this digital-paper hybrid system found that it could actually slightly decrease registration, so canvassers were incentivized to continue using paper many years after the digital revolution.

Now, with an iPad, or any other wireless device, the world is one step closer to going paperless.