Bob Jonkman's thoughts on politics

E-voting, Redux

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 22nd February 2013

Person making a selection on a touch-screen voting machine

E-voting: No privacy?

Jeremy Epstein writes that US president Obama has announced a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. He concludes:

My greatest fear is that the commission will blindly recommend internet voting as a cure-all. As readers of my postings on this blog know, internet voting has yet to show promise as a secure solution to voting, and it risks threatening everyone’s vote.

I think that about nails that coffin shut…

Jeremy and I may be having some effect. He wrote to me Bob, one more follow-up. Today [6 February 2013] the Edmonton City Council voted not to proceed with internet voting, to my great surprise. See: Edmonton council defeats proposal for Internet voting this fall. Whether they read your blog post or mine and were influenced by it, I won’t even guess πŸ™‚

There are further comments on Jeremy Epstein’s blog post.

Deirdre voting on Automark by joebeone is used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

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E-voting Considered Harmful

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 28th January 2013

Finger pressing on electronic voting screen

Voting Screen

The Waterloo Chronicle reports:

The City of Waterloo is going to investigate the possibility of using Internet and telephone voting in time for the 2014 municipal election.

There is already some concern about e-voting. Waterloo Regional Councillor Jane Mitchell writes My problem with on-line voting is the end of the secret ballot.

One of the principles of our electoral systems is anonymity. Another principle is “One person, one ballot”, or singular voting. Both objectives are reasonably easy to do with paper ballots – hand out one ballot to a voter, then cross that voter’s name off the list. The vote cast is both anonymous and singular.

But when people are allowed to vote anonymously on their home computer there’s no way to determine if they’re voting more than once. So to prevent multiple votes you’d have to track voters with a unique ID; but that can then be correlated with the vote cast, destroying anonymity.

Fundamentally, anonymous and singular voting is not achievable through computerized at-home voting. In a report “Technology and the Voting Process” [1] the conclusion of Elections Canada was that the integrity of electoral process is a cornerstone of our democracy, and a decision to move to electronic voting should not be made lightly, without much more study. “Much more study” has not been done by our municipal government.

And don’t get me started on the number of home computers that are infected with viruses, the number of people that are defrauded through identity theft, and the number of times government loses data from their laptops and thumb drives…


Footnote [1]: pp. 58-60, “Technology and the Voting Process”, KPMG and Sussex
Circle for Elections Canada, 1998.

Voting Screen by DonkeyHotey is used under a CC BYCreative Commons β€” Attribution 2.0 Generic β€” CC BY 2.0 license.

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