In reality, online voting, internet elections and email balloting, all are a high risk way to cast a vote. Internet voting is inherently insecure. In real life cases where internet elections have been held, votes have been lost, elections attacked with denial of services, and in one case the voter turnout was 85% lower than before. Add to that the fact that any time you transmit a ballot by email or online, you give up your secret ballot. In fact, states that offer email balloting to overseas military also ask the troops to sign a waiver over their right to a secret ballot. Eliminating the secret ballot opens up voters to coercion and increases the opportunity for ballot selling.
Readers, legislators, public officials, please read the “Computer Technologists’ Statement on Internet Voting” and also examine the list of computer technologists and their credentials at the link. If internet voting could be made secure, and if it could be done yet still have a secret ballot, then most people would support it as a suppliment to other voting methods.
There have already been internet or online voting experiments in the US, namely in Honolulu Hawaii. That election had the lowest reported voter turnout perhaps ever:
Honolulu Completes Internet/Telephone-Only Election
“Despite part of the reason for internet voting being that it would get more people involved a tiny 6.3% of the electorate participated raising numerous questions about why… and if the technology miscounted.”
Other internet elections where something went terribly wrong:
On Second Thought, Finnish Gov’t Rejects Defective E-Voting Results
April 14 2009. “Back in February, we found it disturbing that Finland was allowing the results of an election to stand, despite the fact that at least 2% of the votes had gone missing due to e-voting glitches. However, it looks like some sense of sanity has been restored as a higher court has now rejected the election results and ordered a new election.”
And elections have also been attacked: a Canadian election in 2003 was subject to a denial of service attack. See article:
Hackers disrupt online election
CBC News reports that hackers apparently used a “distributed denial of service” attack to disrupt the (Canadian) National Democratic Party’s election of its party leader.
The voting servers were down for several hours on election day, presumably disenfranchising many voters.
With internet voting, we cannot be certain as to who really had their vote counted, votes can be irretrievably lost, and we can not be certain as to whether the reported results are the true results.
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