In a press release put out today, Microsoft revealed that as of today, users of Xbox Live will be able to take polls about the upcoming presidential election, participate in forums and… oh, how this scares me… register to vote. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people registering to vote, and I actually went and did it the day of my 18th birthday I was so anxious to have the right. What scares me is, and I know I will catch flames for this, is the goofballs on Xbox Live messing this up.
I’ve written a couple times this year about the intellectual titans I run into playing some of the games online, and it worries me that some of these folks, for laughs, may try to register fake people or some other way gum up the works. I have not looked at the process yet, but I am hopeful there are multiple safeguards in place. I asked my mother for her feelings on this since she used to be the president of the local League of Women Voters chapter, responsible for many people being registered to vote, and her reply was simply, “this troubles me.”
Hopefully this will lead to legitimate sign-ups, and hopefully it will also lead to people actually going to the polls come election day, but it still makes me a bit nervous to see it done in this fashion. Going to the gamers is a great idea, but why not set it up around the release of a major game? Madden ’09 just came out with a huge push for midnight releases, wouldn’t it have made sense to set up at some stores and do it there? Yes, there is a certain convenience factor to doing it at home, but I worry about faked names, hacked accounts and any other number of potential problems.
In my heart, I hope it is successful because I think our freedom to vote is one of the greatest things in this country, it is just the method of registration that is worrisome to me.