Technology

Vote rely livestreams are right here to remain

vote-rely-livestreams-are-right-here-to-remain

Not all live streams are on YouTube. Several communities have chosen to use home surveillance cameras. The hotly watched Maricopa County, Arizona uses Google's Nest to keep track of the count (you can check it out here). Cameras have been installed in Washington's King County that are not all that different from store surveillance equipment (you can check them out here). And Union County, New Jersey uses the Angelcam app, a cloud monitoring tool (you can check it out here).

Arizona is a glimpse into the future of live streaming. In 2019, Arizona state lawmakers passed law requiring electoral officials "to provide live video recording of custody of all ballots while the ballots are in a tabulation room at the counting center."

Panda Cam, that's not. While zoo livestreams have grown in popularity as calming, fleeting windows of cuteness, there are higher stakes here. Sure, watching election officials search and sort ballots may be the definition of "reassuring", but the purpose – to be transparent and to ensure the validity and accuracy of election results – is very different and perhaps more exciting than comforting to viewers.

Why is it important? The tabulation of votes has rarely been seen as something for the public to see, but during this year's controversial elections, voters and politicians alike are concerned about fraud as the authenticity of every voting and counting process is verified. (It must be reiterated: studies have repeatedly shown that there is almost no electoral fraud.) Election officials hope these livestreams will ensure voter confidence and counter allegations of fraud.

Philadelphia is Ground Zero for Voting Live Streaming: In late October, the Trump campaign was shown to intimidate voters in the city by videotaping voters as they cast their ballots in certain centers. Trump exacerbated the situation by suggesting that "bad things happen" in Philadelphia. The stakes were increased last Wednesday when the Supreme Court ruled that postal ballot papers would count as long as they were postmarked by election day, even if they arrived later. Philadelphia's role in arguably the most controversial state in the country is huge: the city leans on Democrats and could drive the state's electoral votes in the direction of Biden. It is, therefore, no surprise that Philadelphia has been the focus of intense research.

The Philadelphia city commissioners' office went on the offensive Tuesday night:

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Steven Gregory