[E-voting] Abstention - an accuracy issue?

Ciaran Quinn election at polarbears.com
Fri Mar 19 00:28:31 GMT 2004

With regard to not being able to abstain privately, I think that this
could be an accuracy issue as well a secrecy issue.

People who want to abstain but don't want to reveal their abstention are
in effect being forced to vote. If you examine the ballot files produced
in 2002 (assuming these are accurate), there are 8 instances of people
voting straight down the ballot and only 3 cases of people voting
upwards. I think that it is fair to suggest that these people are
frustrated abstainers, and that forcing people to vote is likely to lead
to a slight bias in favour of those at the top of the ballot.

The numbers may be quite small, but Limerick West was decided by a
single vote at the last general election.

Also, if you abstain, is it obvious to those voters waiting to use the
machine (family members, neighbours) as well as to the official
operating it? 


PS. Excellent document

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