This episode is with Areeq Chowdhury, founder and chief executive of the voluntary, youth-led, think tank WebRoots Democracy. I wanted to do an episode of Ctrl Alt Delete all about online voting. Can it happen? Will it happen? When will it happen?
Other countries are already experimenting with online voting and we do everything with our phones, so I wanted to explore the pros and cons for this conversation. We discuss the benefits (research says online voting would make more people more likely to vote) and the push-backs, including security concerns, privacy and hacking and clicktivism. One thing that stood out from chatting to Areeq was that the people who would benefit the most from this would be people living with disabilities. For a lot of people, it's not a case of 'can't be bothered' it's a case of 'can't physically get there'.
Areeq Chowdhury was born and brought up in Manchester and studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Birmingham where he began researching the relationship between the internet and political participation. After graduating in 2013, he moved to London and has worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the London Assembly, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and KPMG.
At the age of 21, he founded WebRoots Democracy which has been leading the campaign for online voting and has been working with politicians, charities, thinktanks, and technology companies on researching the benefits and challenges of a digital democracy. He has authored and edited two reports on the topic: Viral Voting (2015) and Secure Voting (2016).