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

Louise Ferguson louise.ferguson at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 09:11:58 IST 2005


I'm amazed that people continue to hammer on about technology, when one of 
the major issues to be faced human behaviour, people. With postal voting in 
the UK, coercion is a massive problem in certain communities (old people, 
those in residential care, immigrant communities...). It's unlikely to 
decrease with REV. Who owns and controls family/home computers? Largely 
men-who-are-head-of-household.

The 'Australian system' (a secret ballot in a public location) was 
introduced because of widespread voting fraud in many countries. It 
incorporates many checks and balances that would be lost under a remote 
system (e.g. candidates, agents and independent observers can monitor what's 
happening as everything takes place in a public space; citizens can 
challenge others at polling stations; nobody is allowed to be with the voter 
when they cast their vote, unless they need and want physical assistance to 
do so....).

Of course, not all election mayhem is down to fraud and conspiracies - 
cock-ups also occur on a significant scale. For example, in the last 
elections in the UK, one election administrator told me that more than 
10,000 ballots were delivered by the Post Office to the wrong London 
borough. Whether such votes ever get counted is down to a third party taking 
initiative and sorting out the resultant mess, which often doesn't happen. 
And I'm sure that one borough's experience is not unique. 

Louise
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