LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 7 is the date set for Michigan's Democratic presidential caucuses, but voters there have been casting ballots through the Internet for more than two weeks, long before Monday's Iowa caucuses.
Michigan is the first major Midwest industrial state to vote this year, and the candidates are testing different strategies to attract voters to the polls. Democrats in Michigan are hoping Internet voting will make the difference.
"As a party, we've really long believed in making voting as easy and accessible as possible, and as we looked at Internet voting, it seemed to us to be the next step in meeting those goals," said Mark Brewer, executive chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party (search).
Arizona first used Internet voting in its presidential primary four years ago, and turnout doubled the state's previous record. Brewer said this year the MDP is expecting to break its 1988 record of 211,000 votes cast.
But critics of Internet voting (search) say inequities will arise as a result of the digital divide.
"The white community has 46 percent of households with that capability, and in minority communities, there's only 23 percent," said Joel Ferguson, a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Ferguson's efforts to challenge the use of Internet voting was rejected by the DNC, which decided that increasing voter access through the Web couldn't hurt turnout.
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