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New Survey Shows 58% of Americans Would Consider a Digital, Virtual Voting Method

Despite the dominating narrative that the US confidence in the election process is at an all-time low, new research from e-Residency, a government-issued digital identity that provides non-residents a...

Business Wire

e-Residency research indicates strong confidence in modernizing traditional polling and digital voting processes, and high trust in government to deliver new digital services effectively

NEW YORK: Despite the dominating narrative that the US confidence in the election process is at an all-time low, new research from e-Residency, a government-issued digital identity that provides non-residents access to Estonia’s digital services for the last 10 years, indicates high trust in government ability to introduce a new method of digital voting.

The survey shows that 70% of Americans trust the US government to deliver new digital services. While in-person voting was seen as the gold standard process in the US until the Covid-19 pandemic, 58% of respondents would now be willing to consider a new voting method that might be quicker than visiting a polling station. Almost two thirds (61%) of US respondents agreed an electronic voting process could be easier to use than traditional polling stations.

When it comes to the US government’s ability to deliver these services, 77% of e-Residency survey respondents feel a degree of confidence that their local governments are sufficiently embracing technology, with the majority of Americans (82%) rejecting that limited access to the internet or high-speed connectivity issues are factors that might prevent them from registering to vote electronically.

e-Residency conducted the research to gauge citizens' opinions on digitizing government services, including voting, in both the US and UK.

Designing digital systems

The research asked respondents which services they would find most useful if available on a single digital platform operated by their government. US citizens are evenly split across which services they would like digitized. From most to least popular, these include:

  • Banking: 36% of Americans noted that having better access to online banking services was the digital service they would find most valuable
  • Completing and submitting tax returns: Digital tax services followed at 35%
  • Local government services: Tied with tax returns, 35% of Americans said that digitizing local government services, like street care and crime reporting, would be useful
  • Digital voting in elections: More than a third (34%) of respondents noted digital voting would be helpful, with males (38%) and millennials (28%) the most passionate about online voting

Designing digital services around transparency can also lead to increased faith in and usage of wider government systems, with over half (51%) of US respondents believing electronic interfaces would streamline interactions with government services and over a third (35%) agreeing that electronic voting would increase their faith in the electoral process.

Barriers to digital uptake

While there is clearly a desire for certain services to be offered digitally, there are barriers that must be addressed to encourage their usage.

When asked what would prevent individuals from registering to vote electronically the main concern was around personal data security and privacy (43%) closely followed by cyber attacks and hacking (43%).

Liina Vahtras, Managing Director of e-Residency said, “Research indicates a growing demand in the US for the digitalization of various services, and it is encouraging to note that the vast majority of Americans trust their government to deliver these successfully. By digitizing essential government functions and integrating technology into many facets of society, administrative tasks become simpler and more accessible for residents and non-residents alike.

“Estonia is the world’s first fully digitally transformed society with 99% of public services being available online. This successful digital infrastructure, built on 30 years of transparency and integrity, has resulted in a seamlessly integrated digital society with widespread citizen participation. The e-Residency program was created to provide digital IDs to all vetted non-residents, who through this, are able to access Estonia’s wealth of digital services, including access to the country’s transparent business environment as well as to the EU single market. Across its decade-long tenure, the e-Residency program has granted e-resident status for nearly 150,000 citizens from 185 different countries, with this number continuing to climb, which speaks to the desire for digitization of various services.”

Luke Seelenbinder, e-Resident and founder of Funktional OÜ said, “The e-Residency program has been central to my business endeavours. As a South Carolina native, I was drawn in by Estonia’s innovative approach to digital services and business support. After learning more about Estonia's entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture, I made the leap to start my own company through e-⁠Residency. Thanks to Estonia's digital services taking the hassle out of everyday administrative tasks, I’ve been able to easily balance running my company with focusing on growing my other ventures, all done remotely from the Swiss Alps.”

e-Residency

Estonia launched the world’s first e-Residency programme at the end of 2014, with the aim of providing non-residents safe access to its fully digital public services. Over the years, over 113,500 people have been granted e-resident status. E-residents have set up more than 30,200 companies in Estonia.

E-residents are free to work anytime, anywhere. The programme offers entrepreneurs an easy and affordable way to expand their business across borders and be location-independent. By leveraging the high-security e-resident digital ID, entrepreneurs can streamline cross-border operations without the burden of excessive paperwork. With the ability to create time-stamped Qualified Electronic Signatures, entrepreneurs can confidently sign legal contracts and authenticate transactions with the same legal validity as handwritten signatures.

For more information about Estonian e-Residency and related statistics, please visit: https://www.e-resident.gov.ee

About Estonian e-ID

All Estonians have a state-issued digital identity. This electronic identity system, called e-ID, has existed over 20 years and is the cornerstone of the country’s e-state. People use their e-Identities to pay bills, vote online, sign contracts, shop, access their health information, and much more. It was first used for voting almost 20 years ago in 2005.

Estonians can use their e-Identity via state-issued identity or ID-card, using Mobile-ID on their smartphones, or the application Smart-ID.

Methodology

This e-Residency study was conducted online in April 2024, among a sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over living in the United States of America. Respondents for these surveys were selected from a panel of respondents compensated to take surveys relevant to them. The modelled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Fonte: Business Wire

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