[E-voting] UK shelves plans for e-voting trials

Brian O'Byrne bobyrne at statesoft.ie
Thu Sep 8 14:50:11 IST 2005


Craig,

REV has all the drawbacks and vulnerabilities of a DRE (Direct 
recorded electronic) vote, with the additional concerns that:
- Authentication of the voter is weak. (The person casting the vote 
might not be who they pretend to be).
- Coercion and vote selling are facilitated and cannot be detected.
(Consider the very low tech of someone standing over you as you cast 
your vote, threatening you with violence or offering cash).

Postal voting also suffers from these two concerns, but at least the 
vote count can be conducted in an open way, avoiding many of the 
problems of DRE.

The bottom line is that by choosing mail or remote electronic voting 
you are sacraficing the integrity of the system in exchange for 
convenience or increased turnout. Having more votes cast does not 
help democracy if those votes are not an accurate picture of the will 
of the electorate.

A modern democratic election depends upon voter authentication, the 
secrecy of the ballot and the integrity of the count. If you 
compromise any one of these then you compromise the entire election.

Brian.

On Thursday 08 September 2005 14:16, Craig Burton wrote:
> Catherine,
> I've read only two articles about this so far.  The one posted here
> and the BBC one:
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4219008.stm
> This article frames postal voting as the go forward technology.  Of
> course registration is the real vulnerability.
>
> I don't think either postal voting or REV are perfect, but postal
> voting is weaker.  It gives no receipt, it has poor reach, the
> postal system can be attacked where votes accumulate most etc.  Low
> tech is enough to break it.  Postal voting was never meant to
> scale, it has been the traditional method of minority fraud
> wherever it has been used.
>
> However, if you think all voters can be compelled to attend polling
> stations and there be no remote methods, you've got be kidding. 
> People have never had less time to vote nor do they travel farther
> from where they need to be to vote than they do now.
>
> I think voting has to be compulsory.  I think some REV methods are
> going to be needed as a concession.  Obviously the REV methods to
> be used need to be adequately secure.
>
> Best,
> Craig.
>
> Catherine Ansbro wrote:
> > Craig,
> >
> > Both Remote E-Voting and Postal Voting are open invitations to
> > fraud. It is dangerous and disingenuous to frame this as an
> > "either/or" question between these 2 options.
> >
> > There is no point getting more people involved in voting if in
> > doing so the integrity of the entire election is compromised.  In
> > fact, this strategy is doubly dangerous because it is potentially
> > grossly misleading:  it could lead people to think they are
> > having a say by participating in an election, when in fact the
> > election method has deprived them of their vote.
> >
> > Catherine
> >
> > Craig Burton wrote:
> >> Marian,
> >> This isn't on the list.  So I CC them, hope that is OK.  DavidG
> >> hates it when things are off the list.
> >> REV is remote electronic voting.  It's also a type of skinny
> >> milk we have in Australia, so please excuse any confusion.
> >>
> >> Marian Beddill wrote:
> >>> Craig;
> >>>
> >>> I don't recognize the acronyn "REV".  A search didn't help.
> >>> Please define/explain.
> >>>
> >>> Marian
> >>>
> >>> At 9/7/2005  09:35 PM, you wrote:
> >>>> Ouch.  Fortunately postal voting will save the day.
> >>>>
> >>>> It's cheaper* than REV, it's safer** than REV and people love
> >>>> it***. * But the cost goes up with scale.  I can't believe it
> >>>> would be cheaper for 20M voters.
> >>>> ** Four convictions so far for postal pilot fraud, REV zero.
> >>>> Per-household registrations : all the fun of family voting. 
> >>>> And do you get a receipt?
> >>>> *** 95% REV users wanted it to be ongoing.  We'll see about
> >>>> postal - I predict the uptake will fall
> >>>>
> >>>> Good luck Estonia!
> >>>>
> >>>> Shane Hogan wrote:
> >>>>> From http://www.enn.ie/frontpage/news-9636510.html
> >>>>> The UK government has dropped its plans to run trials of
> >>>>> e-voting technology
> >>>>> in advance of next year's local elections. The Office of the
> >>>>> Deputy Prime
> >>>>> Minister issued a statement cancelling a procurement that
> >>>>> called for IT
> >>>>> suppliers to provide it with technology to run pilots between
> >>>>> 2006 and 2010.
> >>>>> "This notice has been cancelled as the government has decided
> >>>>> not to invite
> >>>>> applications to conduct electronic electoral modernisation
> >>>>> pilots in 2006.
> >>>>> All organisations that submitted an expression of interest in
> >>>>> the tender
> >>>>> have been notified of the cancellation," the ODPM said.
> >>>>> Trials had been due
> >>>>> to take place next year that would include internet, phone,
> >>>>> SMS and digital
> >>>>> TV voting, along with pilots of electronic polling stations
> >>>>> and vote counting systems. E-voting pilots last took place in
> >>>>> the UK in 2003; plans
> >>>>> for further trials in 2004 were abandoned on the advice of
> >>>>> the Electoral
> >>>>> Commission. The government has not yet given a reason for the
> >>>>> cancellation
> >>>>> of this year's e-voting plans.
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> _______________________________________________
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> >>>>> http://evoting.cs.may.ie/
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-- 
Brian O'Byrne, Statesoft Ltd.
Tel: +353 1 4100 993, +353 86 240 4719
http://www.statesoft.ie/




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