Where was Big Tech During the Election?

And why must we rely on snail-mail in the 21st century?

Within the last week, news media outlets have strictly stuck to covering the 2020 Presidential Election. And rightfully so — it is undoubtedly historic and big news. What is also historic is the delayed voting count that took several days longer than usual.

Whispers in the previous few weeks and months have hinted that there would be a delay in election results due to the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots this year. That is all fine and well, but my immediate instinct went to the antiquated nature of the whole scheme.

Genuinely ask yourself for a moment: when was the last time you sent something in a mailing envelope?

Was it within the last decade?

Naturally, I write this with a touch of flippancy, but the point stands. For the leaders of the free world to not only propose but vaunt a fixer such as the US Postal Service means they must have forgotten we currently live in the 21st century.

Now that snail mail has seemingly rejoined this century, it seems that everyone and their uncle’s are mail aficionados. The point of the snail-mail medium of voting this year was as a means to circumvent potentialities presented by the pandemic.

Yet, this was the very same pandemic that ushered in a new age of digital life — Zoom doctor’s appointments, video call funerals, and FaceTime happy hours all became normalized this year.

My point is this: how is it that the same pandemic that beget such a pervasive digital revolution is also the one that brought snail-mail back into the 21st century?

Today, teenagers and adults alike barely know where to buy postage stamps, present company included. And nonetheless, somehow, the conclusion was reached that mail-in ballots were the best strategy for a historic election.

Of all the technology that we carry in our very pockets each and every day, it seems that there must have been a sleeker, new-age solution to voting during a pandemic.

Maybe a hyper-secure smartphone app could have done the trick and increased accessibility. Or perhaps the fingerprint scanner or FaceID scanner on our smartphones could have had a play in ensuring a digitized (and fair) election.

Miraculously enough, there were votes counted in record numbers this election season. Bravo to Americans of 2020.

With all the hubbub this year about the strivings of big tech companies, the question arises: why didn’t any of these firms step in with a digital voting solution? A means to entirely eliminate pandemic dangers while also avoiding bringing back the stone-age technology that is snail mail?

And to all those climate advocates — millions upon millions of mail-in ballots certainly leave a mark on the trees they are extracted from. A digital solution would provide a further scaffold to any attempt at saving our planet from what many believe is imminent destruction, surely.

My thoughts now, as I flip through news media outlets on the TV, watching the talking heads do what they do, is that the additional day (or two or three or ten) that we waited for the election results could have been easily avoided with a little technological ingenuity pointed in the right direction.

Shame to think that the Twitter’s and Facebook’s of the world are more worried about selective censorship than streamlining the electoral process.

Where were all the computer coding geniuses, the digital gurus, and the progenitors of the online generation?

But the good news is, snail mail has been revived in the 21st century. This much is certain.

And, all things considered with how the previous 10 months of 2020 have gone, I’ll accept the innocuousness of the uptick in snail-mail.

Phil Rosen is a writer, editor, and blogger. His bestselling book is available on Amazon.

If you want to see more of his ideas, check out his travel and lifestyle blog and Instagram.

Bestselling travel writer. Columnist. Author. USC Annenberg School of Journalism. https://philsnextstop.blog

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