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

Andrew Ó Baoill andrew at funferal.org
Mon Sep 12 04:24:45 IST 2005

1 Since Ireland allows citizenship to those whose grandparents were  
born in the country (and to the children of those who have claimed  
citizenship under this rule) and since we have a considerable  
emigrant population, stretching back 150 years, to allow voting  
rights to those not currently residing in the country would have the  
potential to considerably skew electoral results. Consider, for  
example, our various referenda on abortion and divorce. The Irish  
population has become more secular over time, to the extent that  
divorce has been legalized and certain strict restrictions related to  
abortion have not been enabled (ban on travel, etc.). However, the  
Irish-American population, especially those who most identify with  
the country, have not necessarily changed their world-view at the  
same rate. Considering that this population potentially far exceeds  
the current population of the country, it is very conceivable that  
the emigrant population could, if voting, have  far-reaching  
consequences on the results of elections and referendums. [Due to a  
lack of data on my part I will merely speculate that emigrant  
populations skew towards older, larger parties, against newer and  
smaller parties.]

2 In Ireland postal voting is very tightly restricted. Members of the  
Diplomatic corps and their families; Gardai and members of the  
defense forces; students studying at recognised third-level  
institutions _within_ the country; electors living at home who are  
unable to vote at a polling station due to a physical illness or  
disability. A person employed by a returning officer on polling day  
in a constituency other than where they are registered to vote may  
apply for entry on the supplement to the postal voters list. Postal  
voting is also available to electors whose occupations are likely to  
prevent them from voting at their local polling station. [amended  
from http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPol.nsf/ 
20June%202005.pdf - what a title!]

On 11 MFómh 2005, at 20:39, Craig Burton wrote:

> If the government apparently legislates to not support expats,  
> that's a pity.  In other countries this is being hotly debated;  
> there has been some news about Ghana allowing its expats to vote  
> since they contribute so much money to its economy.  Obviously it's  
> not a direct comparison for lots of reasons, one of the key ones  
> being that in new democracies (such as Ghana, E.Europe) voters  
> behave differently and seem to want to participate more.
> I'm sure postal remote voting enfranchises many living _within_  
> Ireland who can't attend polls.  Compare the current situation to  
> the census : it doesn't matter who is staying with you nor how far  
> they are from their constituency, they get to submit a private,  
> sensitive, anonymous document via hand-collection, to the gov't.   
> OTOH if you aren't at home or can't get your postal ballot from  
> your postbox, you can't vote.  I don't know if you have an out-of- 
> constituency facility at polling stations in Ireland, this would  
> help.  I still think convenience is an over generalisation.
> Aengus Lawlor wrote:
>> On Saturday, September 10, 2005 6:23 PM [EDT], Craig Burton  
>> <caburt at alphalink.com.au> wrote:
>>>> Brian, Thank you for this metered argument. This post is getting  
>>>> pretty long but I think illustrations help.
>>>>> So your assertions that remote voting must be provided and that
>>>> improving turnout is irrelevant simply don't stack up against  
>>>> the goal of an election. Perhaps I don't convey the urgency of  
>>>> my opening idea well enough. The gov't has to make voting  
>>>> available to all eligible voters. It doesn't have to be easy,  
>>>> but it has to be possible. If voters can attend a polling  
>>>> station, they should. If they can't, it's not their fault voting  
>>>> is impossible, the gov't has to provide other channels. If the  
>>>> new channels are weaker than attendance voting then we have to  
>>>> try to estimate the increased side effects and adjust our margin  
>>>> of error appropriately.
>> I think you should bear in mind that the primary focus of this  
>> list is the situation in Ireland, where the Constitution  
>> explicitly says that "all citizens" are entitled to vote, but  
>> where the not insubstantial number of Irish citizens who don't  
>> live in Ireland are explicitly excluded from registering to vote  
>> by the laws that supposedly enact the principles layed out in the  
>> constitution. Whatever about the rights and wrongs of that issue,  
>> it certainly demonstrates that no Irish Government will be under  
>> any legal, never mind moral compunction, to introduce remote  
>> voting of any kind, purely for the convenience of the voters.  
>> Aengus _______________________________________________ E-voting  
>> mailing list E-voting at lists.stdlib.net http://lists.stdlib.net/ 
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Andrew Ó Baoill
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Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois
Communications / Participatory media / Political action
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andrew at funferal.org / funferal at mac.com (AIM)
http://funferal.org / Galway, Ireland / Urbana, IL, USA

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