Would online voting disenfranchise some in Los Angeles?

There are pilot programs testing online voting, but the possibility of hacking remains a concern nationwide.
There are pilot programs testing online voting, but the possibility of hacking remains a concern nationwide. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Super Tuesday’s results are showing Republicans gained big among young voters, but the same wasn't true for Democrats.

In fact, young Democrats showed up in smaller numbers than eight years ago, according to The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, highlighting again the continuing challenge of engaging millennials in elections.

Just how many young voters will turn out for California's primary in June is a question, too. In Los Angeles County, just 6.8 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds showed up to vote in California’s 2014 general election. 

As people look for ways to attract young voters, some are calling for Los Angeles to move to online voting, including several at KPCC 's In Person event Wednesday at Cross Campus in Pasadena on engaging millennials through technology. (Video of the Hack the Vote event is available online.)

But those working on engaging young voters are at odds over how soon online voting might be a viable option and how secure it would be once implemented.

Additionally, some communities of color without Internet access could be left behind, according to Oscar Menjivar, the founder of the nonprofit Teens Exploring Technology (TXT).

"If we don’t solve net neutrality yet, which is access to the Internet and free access to the Internet, then why would we go online?" he asked. "Before we can go there, we need to make sure that happens first."

Rather than making elections more inclusive, online voting could have the opposite effect, Menjivar cautioned.

As many as 30 percent of Los Angeles residents don't have access to high-speed Internet, according to city data. 

Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield proposed in 2013 to bring free, high-speed Internet to the entire city. Bids for that project are currently being evaluated and a full rollout could happen within five years, according to a Blumenfield spokesman.

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