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Should Oregon Study Internet Voting?

The Oregon Capitol.
M.O. Stevens
The Oregon Capitol.

Oregonians could one day be able to cast their votes through the Internet.

An Oregon Senate panel Tuesday advanced a measure that would study whether the state should enact online voting. But even supporters of the concept say it's a long way from reality.

Oregon pioneered vote-by-mail in the 1990s, and now some lawmakers say it's time to take a big technological leap into the 21st century. They envision a day when voters could use their PC's or smart phones to cast a ballot.

For now, the bill moving forward would simply require the Oregon Secretary of State to study the feasibility of Internet voting.

A Senate panel approved the measure over the objections of some citizens who testified against it.

Roxanne Ross of Gresham, Ore., said online voting would be an obvious target of hackers.

"We don't want to have our votes left to that kind of uncertainty," she said. "We would like to feel that our vote makes a difference."

The debate comes at a time when two state government websites are having high-profile problems. An Oregon Secretary of State database suffered a suspected cyber-attack. And the state's health insurance exchange has still failed to enroll a single online applicant.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.