AS WE HEAD TOWARDS the largest election in history, it’s time to consider the future of elections themselves. Democracy is in a state of tumult worldwide, and futurists have been predicting the demise or subversion of the nation-state for years: Some predict a world ruled by corporations, others by algorithms. In many ways, we already live in the former, and we can all think of several countries that are democracies in name only. What happens next?
A free and just electoral process, guided by the principle of universal adult franchise, remains a fundamental need for the representation of people’s rights and interests in governments. Safeguarding elections in troubled times, and ensuring that they continue to exist in an ever-changing future, should remain part of humanity’s most vital goals.
As we add ever-accelerating technological change to this pot—in a world where millions are battling for economic and social relevance—it becomes clear this is no easy task. At every stage in the electoral process, we’re going to see new opportunities, but also many dangers.
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