[E-voting] E-voting machines to be used in UK

Dr J Pelan J.Pelan at gatsby.ucl.ac.uk
Wed Oct 18 12:36:29 IST 2006

On Tue, 17 Oct 2006, Louise Ferguson wrote:

> The UK govt has this afternoon issued a propectus for modernising pilots 
> for 2007 local elections, this time specifically focusing on kiosk, 
> internet and telephone channels, as well as e-counting.
> With what you said earlier, Colm, regarding what might be done in Eire, 
> I'm also wondering whether Eire and UK digital rights organisations can 
> in some way work together on this issue.

Seeing as I live in London, I've been banging on about the UK side of 
things but it has fallen on deaf ears. Save for the usual suspects, e.g. 
Jason Kitcat, no one seems to care about the issue in the UK. It just 
isn't on anyone's radar. Even when I stressed the fact that the ODPM (as 
was) was driving the e-voting standards at the Council of Europe, no one 
seemed to believe the UK was considering a roll-out. Of course they are.

AFAIK, the digital rights groups are rather fragmented in the UK and some 
of them tend to be rather, let's say, founded on zealotry and sandals 
rather than well grounded in civil liberties and legal argument. That's 
just my opinion but I do not mind being proved wrong.

However, I see the perpetual association of technical people and technical 
issues with e-voting as highly detrimental to the public debate. E-voting 
is NOT about technicalities - it is about TRUST.

I would therefore recommend that the traditional civil liberties (e.g. 
Liberty) and voting people (e.g. Make My Vote Count) should be persuaded 
to drive this with support from the digital-rights groups, rather than the 
other way around. The former groups need to be approached with a well 
prepared presentation on the risks *together* with the evidence that a 
roll-out is likely. There also needs to be a considered response to the 
disability / access issues which tend to muddy the water.

John P.

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