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

Craig Burton caburt at alphalink.com.au
Sun Sep 11 12:57:26 IST 2005

Yes you're on the money - REV can be made secret and anonymous in terms 
of vote transport and storage, but yes, anyone can watch you at home.  
If you let them - and worse if you let them tell you what to vote, then 
if you don't vote again when they are asleep or drunk or something.  
Still, I guess the coercer could check the voting receipt they got from 
observing your session to see if it has changed as the result of a 
subsequent multiple vote, then enact vengeance on you.

Ultimately, I don't think any voting method is successful without 
vigilance.  In the case of REV its the voter who has to do more.  If a 
daughter dobs her father in for a two year sentence in the UK for 
filling in her postal vote (as Timothy Murphy introduced earlier today 
on this list) - and I have heard of severe punishments in France for 
other voting trespasses - then presumably people will assert their 
rights where REV is used as well.

The likely REV users will be computer literate (its the upside of the 
digital divide, perhaps?) and it seems less likely to me that their use 
of the home computer to vote would need to be mediated by the household 
geek whom you imply would then mediate the voting choices as well. 

Heck, keep postal voting!  REV is just a voting channel - it's great for 
some voters.  For those who don't or won't use computers, attend polls 
or vote postal.  We just need as few postal votes as possible.

Michael McMahon wrote:

> Craig Burton wrote:
>> The most likely REV users will be Internet users (79% of French 
>> Internet users would vote online, for example), not just computer 
>> users.  The demographics for Internet use are not predominantly men 
>> of 40-60.  Unlike postal voting where the head of the house can 
>> merely collect the postal vote and vote it, REV can use strong 
>> authentication tied to an ID card (as in Estonia).  
> That's not really the point. It doesn't matter how strong the 
> authentication technology is,
> if someone is looking over your shoulder when you enter your vote.
>> And you can vote more than once - a coercer would have to act at the 
>> last possible minute or otherwise confine you from visiting any 
>> Internet terminal anywhere in the country.
> That's a fair point, which is often overlooked. While it does mitigate 
> the coercion risks to some extent, you have to
> acknowledge that it is still *less secret* than traditional secret 
> ballots in a polling booth.
> There is also still a risk of candidates, heads of household etc. 
> hoovering up votes from people who
> couldnt be bothered to go and change their vote somewhere else.
> I don't see the point in reducing the secrecy value of elections until 
> all other
> reasonable methods for facilitating voters have been done.
> Michael

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