The Government’s new push to introduce electronic voting to Scotland would be a big step backwards for democracy. E-voting has a long record of raising security concerns and causing mistrust in elections. Some activities are better left offline, and voting is definitely one of them.
The Scottish Government is holding a public consultation on electoral reform that ends Thursday March 29th. We have until then to make sure Scotland doesn’t make the same mistake so many other countries have.
For elections to be trusted they have to satisfy three conditions. They must be:
Secure - Your vote has to be secure, steps must be taken to make sure it can’t be tampered with; but also
Anonymous - Your vote can’t be traced back to you, protecting you against coercion and exposure; but also
Verifiable - It has to be shown that one person cast this one vote, and didn’t cast another to be counted, but also remain secure and anonymous.
E-voting can’t satisfy these three competing conditions. One solution loses anonymity whereas another will not be able to satisfy verifiability; all of them are as insecure as anything else connected to the Internet.
The current system of paper ballots has maintained trust in Scotland’s elections for generations. Email the consultation and say no to electronic voting trials in Scotland.
You can use the following points to write a message in your own unique voice.
* For a vote to be trusted, it has to show that one person cast this one vote, and didn’t cast another to be counted, and also remain secure and anonymous. E-voting can’t do this.
* E-voting can’t guarantee the security of votes like a paper ballot can. Voting is better left offline.
* The record of e-voting from other countries including the Netherlands, Norway, Estonia, Australia and the US shows e-voting raises security concerns and does not improve turnout.
* The public won’t trust a process they can’t reasonably understand. That’s why new technical fixes like mix-nets and Blockchain aren’t valid solutions to e-voting’s vulnerabilities.
* There are better ways to improve democratic participation like reducing the voting age, and providing opportunities for engagement outside of national elections such as participatory budgeting.