This topic contains 20 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  micky 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #851

    timo
    Participant

    Could this ever be done in something like a General Election?

    When I vote, its just me and the ballot box, but online, can my vote really be anonymous?

  • #852

    garygary
    Participant

    Yes and yes.

    The online bit is easy, one system could authenticate you and another record your vote. Designed with no way to tie the two together. Whether anyone would, or maybe everyone, would believe that is another matter.

    The harder bit is how to give you a unique code without it being crackable but far enough in advance, but allowing that not everyone will want to use it. If you are issued with a code, risk system gets cracked one person could generate multiple codes. Let people register online and risk ID impersonation .

    Imagine if we did have secure easy and universal electronic voting. We could have a true democracy, rather than just democratic parliament. The government could hold referenda easily.

    • #853

      timo
      Participant

      Imagine if we did have secure easy and universal electronic voting. We could have a true democracy, rather than just democratic parliament. The government could hold referenda easily.

      The last referendum’s result wasn’t as palatable as the previous Prime Minister wanted, or expected. I don’t think we will be having any more of those for the next 40 years or so.

  • #854

    bigmouth
    Participant

    Whats funny about e-Democracy and online voting is that most IT security experts are dead against it, but lots of vendors, managers and politicians love it.

    There are only a handful of people capable of designing a secure, verifiable and trustworthy online voting system (don’t get me started on Mobile!); so far, most systems are not even open sourced which would be a prerequisite to check the legitimacy of the results.

    I think one would need an open voting standard (similar to encryption standards); with the Best of the Best of the Best winning, unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen in the current worldwide political climate.

  • #855

    chris90
    Participant

    Not only there shouldn’t be on-line voting, but there shouldn’t even be electronic voting at all.

  • #856

    flyguy
    Participant

    The question would be how you eliminate multiple voting, with people voting online and in person, or multiple locations. It does need sorting though… as it is quite easy for people to vote in two constituencies now, as there is no central system.

    • #857

      nab
      Participant

      Perhaps more importantly, how do you stop coercion? Although this is a problem with postal voting, too.

      I’m not sure it’s a good thing anyway, increasing turnout by making it easier to vote. There’s something to be said for discouraging people who don’t care enough to get to a polling station (as long as allowances are made for those with genuine difficulties).

    • #858

      flyguy
      Participant

      Yeah. There is a case to argue that the person who spares just those few extra minutes travelling to a polling station will have considered how they vote a little bit more.

    • #861

      carly
      Participant

      They do that in the US. And just by innocent coincidence ethnic minorities queue longer.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/heres-why-black-people-have-to-wait-twice-as-long-to-vote-as-whites/274791/

    • #863

      nab
      Participant

      Your link goes on to explain that that is probably not down to racism, though (at least, not directly):

      For example, longer lines correlate with urban areas, and so do black and Hispanic populations. It makes sense that any location with higher population density is going to have more logjams than a rural voting station. (Bolstering the point, individual white voters in racially diverse ZIP codes waited far longer in line than white voters in extremely Caucasian ZIP codes).

      Regardless, it’s clearly about provision – there’s no reason it would have to be true here.

    • #864

      carly
      Participant

      Exactly. Just innocent coincidence. Honest.

      I’m a rather rabid believer that voting is important so it should be easy.

    • #865

      nab
      Participant

      Exactly. Just innocent coincidence. Honest.

      It’s your link! But it’s also the USA, not the UK. Also, waiting 20 minutes to vote at a polling station in town right beside where you live really isn’t the end of the world, rural voters often take longer than that to get to the polling station.

      I’m a rather rabid believer that voting is important so it should be easy.

      Yup. Just like marriage, raising children, having a career, keeping healthy and fit. We can’t have people having to make a little effort for anything important, can we? :-/

      People should be encouraged to vote, but if they can’t really be bothered having a say, that’s fine by me. Someone able-bodied who thinks it isn’t worth the effort to get to the polling station between the hours of 07:00 and 22:00 to cast their vote is probably right!

  • #860

    carly
    Participant

    It’s possible for experts to design secure systems that will satisfy other experts, but that means nothing to non-experts who are the electorate.

    It’s a bit like justice, Not only must democray be done; it must also be seen to be done.

    Since computers make the process more opaque I don’t think the advantages are worth it.

  • #862

    andrewB
    Participant

    If you want to know, Richard Stallings book has some details of how it could be done. There are more modern schemas. I would say that they are still vulnerable to denial of service attacks

    I would be currently not in favour of it as we have an environment where there are too many government IT systems that are weak. I admit there are some that are good but you don’t want it mucked up with the core of the democratic system.

  • #866

    archer
    Participant

    I’m surprised, but in a pleasant way, at how many respondants share my opinion on voting, there’s not many political threads on here I can say that about!

    If you can’t be arsed to walk/drive to your nearest primary school once every five years or at least apply for a postal vote in advance then frankly your opinion doesn’t count for much.

    Having a small hurdle in the voting process is a kind of electoral Darwinism.

  • #867

    kevinj
    Participant

    Secure/immutable voting is one possible application of blockchain technology. I believe the Brazilian govt were looking at running their vote on the Ethereum network to cut down on fraud. One token per voter.

  • #868

    sam
    Participant

    Stalin apprently said “It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes.”

  • #869

    andypandy
    Participant

    I think allowing people to vote from their own computers over their home networks would be a waiting disaster of almost epic proportions. The computers aren’t secure, many are malware or spyware compromised, and there is basically no way for the voting servers to overcome this.

    • #870

      fred99
      Participant

      The benefits of computerisation appear marginal compared to the potential consequences of introducing technological vulnerabilities and opacity impenetrable to all but computer security specialists.

      Good point about home networks and pcs.

    • #872

      micky
      Participant

      Phones and PC browsers are good enough for electronic banking. A vote is worth less than the contents of your bank accounts.

      Blockchain can resolve many of the problems of centralised servers being compromised and allow for anonymous auditing of votes after an election.

      The biggest issue I see is that it makes coercion possible when someone can be forced to vote in front of you as opposed to in a booth where you can’t see what they are doing – but so does postal voting. There are some schemes that address this by allowing people to vote more than once with only the last vote counting.

      Probably the biggest opportunity from electronic voting is that it would remove the constraints of paper based systems and allow more flexibility in the whole process of selecting representatives to make people’s vote actually count. For example, you could have a two stage system where first MPs were elected but then everybody got to decide which of the MPs in parliament should represent them (rather than being stuck with the one from their constituency). When MPs vote in parliament their vote could have different weightings according to the number of people who had selected them. If, in the middle of a parliamentary session, your MP really p*sses you off you could switch to another one.

  • #871

    jill
    Participant

    Could this ever be done in something like a General Election?

    When I vote, its just me and the ballot box, but online, can my vote really be anonymous?

    Bad news. Ballot papers are numbered and they write down that number next to your name.

    “Today, to prevent fraud, every ballot paper carries a Serial number as well as a unique official mark. This means that, although the ballot in UK elections is supposed to be secret, it is theoretically possible to trace each vote to the voter who cast it. It is, however, illegal to do so.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-explained-voting-10227175.html

    The advantage of it being on paper is that it will be labour intensive and more difficult to conceal if you tried to trace who voted what.

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