[E-voting] ideas? and my conversation with Clodagh Harris

Andrew Ó Baoill andrew at funferal.org
Wed Oct 26 15:44:46 IST 2005


The bulk of the research on this has demonstrated that electronic  
voting - either in ballot stations, or by way of internet voting, is  
not very effective at increasing participation, and is less effective  
than postal voting. Further, it appears that the increase in  
participation (by way of internet-based voting) is generally among  
older voters - that is, among those segments of society already  
committed to participation, but who may have mobility difficulties  
and be unable to leave the house to participate. Making voting  
'easier' in this sense does not encourage participation by those  
demographic groups who are not already strongly invested in voting.

Granted, kiosk voting is a somewhat different issue, but the general  
lessons will follow through. The line of thinking - this is easier,  
more people will participate, therefore people will become more  
engaged with democracy - is utopian, and flawed on several levels.

Andrew

On 26 DFómh 2005, at 09:35, Catherine Ansbro wrote:

> Maybe something along the lines of:
>
> While ICTE supports the principle of maximising voter  
> participation, the technical reality at the moment is that  
> electronic voting is not sufficiently secure.  Ironically, while it  
> might seem to make voting more accessible, it would do so at risk  
> to the most fundamental core of Irish democracy.
>
> We accept that the report's recommendations were well-meaning, but  
> suggest that they were made without awareness of the numerous  
> technical considerations.  The Democracy Commission does not appear  
> to have consulted widely on this particular issue, and does not  
> have the internal technical expertise on the technical implications  
> of electronic voting.
>
> * * *
>
> Clodagh Harris just rang me back, fair play to her.
>
> She stressed that they were OPPOSED to the currently proposed e- 
> voting system, and would only support something with significant  
> safeguards.  I mentioned this doesn't come across clearly from  
> reading the report itself (and the executive summary doesn't  
> mention VVAT or the need for significant changes to the current  
> system--an open invitation to be quoted widely out of context).  I  
> also mentioned the disturbing framing issue (voter confidence v.s.  
> election integrity).  She will welcome any emails about this, which  
> she will distribute to the Commissioners.  (I suggested they might  
> want to consider offering a clarification.)  I said it was  
> regrettable they didn't run the wording by individuals with  
> technical expertise relating to this particular issue.
>
> I think if we could feed them some possible wording for  
> clarifications etc. they might be willing to use them in press  
> interviews etc.
>
> She seemed genuinely concerned that I felt the report's dealing of  
> this issue could be damaging.  At least she is aware there is a  
> potential problem here.
>
>
>
>
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>
>

--
Andrew Ó Baoill
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Inst. of Communications Research, U. of Illinois
Communications / Participatory media / Political action
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andrew at funferal.org / baoillo at uiuc.edu
aim: funferal at mac.com
+353-87-241-7003 / +1-(217) 384-3142
http://funferal.org / Galway, Ireland / Urbana, IL, USA





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