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The Internet Government Politics

UK Voters Want To Vote Online 288

Posted by Zonk
from the vote-early-vote-often dept.
InternetVoting writes "A recent UK research survey by NTL:Telewest Business found that nearly half of the younger respondents would be more likely to vote online. This year the UK government has authorized 13 local election pilots including Internet voting. ntl:Telewest Business estimates 10 million UK households have broadband and 4,789 local libraries offer public access. In the US political parties are beginning to test the Internet voting waters with the Michigan Democratic Party to offer Internet voting in their 2008 Presidential Caucus. There were some notable differences in generational interest: 'The YouGov poll of almost 2,300 people, carried out on behalf of NTL:Telewest's business unit, found that younger voters were even more positive about the idea of alternatives to the trusty ballot box. 57 per cent of 18-34 year olds liked the idea of evoting, but only a third of the over 55s were as keen.' Given security and privacy concerns in the states, how likely is this to appeal to US voters? "
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UK Voters Want To Vote Online

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  • bah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:05PM (#18920175) Journal
    I've never had to walk more than 200m to get to vote - maybe if you can't be bothered to make that effort then your vote shouldn't count...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly. Most of the people who responded probably couldn't even name one local candidate, let alone tell you who they're going to vote for on May 3rd. Now we're supposed to make it easier for uninformed people to make an uninformed choice, purely because it's supposed to be "more democratic"? I'm fairly certain democracy requires an informed populace; not someone picking the funniest name on a web page while they wait for the film to download from BitTorrent.

      I won't even bother to mention the potential f
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        I would LOVE to be able to vote online...I contract work, so time lost is money lost, and I've only ever once lived close to my polling spot. I'd be much more apt to vote in every election...

        That being said, however, I don't think there could be enough security to lock things down to set up such a system in the US, so, I'd rather not go for it at this time. Testing the waters, though, is a good idea at this time, especially in the caucuses where it isn't directly electing anyone into office.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ironsides (739422)
          There is this thing called an Absentee Ballot. Perhaps you've heard of it?
          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            "There is this thing called an Absentee Ballot. Perhaps you've heard of it?"

            Actually, I'd not really ever known much about them, till Katrina put me on a 2 year (still ongoing) nomadic trip around southern LA.

            I have used it since then...however, the problem is, that I often don't know an election is coming up until it is too late to have one requested to be mailed to you...get it and mail it back before deadline.

            And I tend to watch the news quite a bit...but, still don't know when elections are that far

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Ironsides (739422)
              You must have a screwy district or something. I'm registered in Northern VA. Our elections are every Novemeber, every year. You can check the county website to see what is on the ballot. Request for a ballot is faxing in a form to the county elections office. I've voted more times by absentee ballot than I have in person, due to college. My parents used to do it due to being in the military.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dvice_null (981029)
      So you think that everyone lives 200 m from a voting point? Or do you think that everyone who doesn't live that near should be able to vote online?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by VJ42 (860241) *
        Everyone already does live near a polling station here in the UK; the system is set up that way to make it convenient to vote. If you can't be bothered to get up and walk a few hundred metres to vote, you're better off staying at home anyway. If you have a disability, or are going to be away, then that's what absentee ballot papers are for.
        • How about people living on remote farms? Do they have a polling place within 200 meters?
          • If they won't pass a polling station on the day, they have absentee ballot papers.
            • eVoting would still be far easier.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by digitig (1056110)

                eVoting would still be far easier.
                Having the government tell you how you voted without you doing anything at all would be easier still. I understand that some countries have that system, but I wouldn't be keen.
            • So, in other words, the UK does not have it set up so that everyone is within a few hundred meters of a polling station, contrary to what was said a couple of posts back in the thread.
          • by VJ42 (860241) *
            Do you realise how small the UK is? There's no such thing as a remote farm unless you're living on a small island in the outer Hebrides, and IIRC those people get absentee ballots for constituencies on the mainland. We might not all be literally within 200m from a polling station, but we're all certainly within walking distance (by which I mean it'd take no longer than 5-10 minutes to walk to a polling station at the absolute maximum) of one.
            • I don't know about where you live, but in Scotland, there are certainly many farms in remote parts of the country. I know of several farms and houses near me which are over 5-10 minutes drive from the nearest house, let alone the nearest town or polling station.
    • Re:bah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ookabooka (731013) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:50PM (#18920549)
      ...then your vote shouldn't count...

      I'd be very careful making statements like this, even if it is jest. I don't think anyone's vote should be discounted for any reason. Slippery slope indeed...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)
        What if they're under 18?

        This is mildly humorous, but every other class of disenfranchised voter has been until they weren't.
        • by ookabooka (731013)
          There are some groups that can't vote, like minors, or felons. I think the reason minors aren't allowed to vote is due to the fact that they don't much have the capacity to understand the ramifications of who they vote for. Consequently this makes them prime targets for exploitations by dirty (most) politicians. As for felons I could see it the same way (you'll get parole if you vote for candidate X) and also as a punishment for the crime they have commited. The right to vote being revoked from felons is a
          • by VJ42 (860241) *

            I think the reason minors aren't allowed to vote is due to the fact that they don't much have the capacity to understand the ramifications of who they vote for.

            And the point the OP was making is that there are adults to whom this could equally apply to.
            People don't magically gain intelligence at 18; drawing an arbitrary line is just the best of all other possible options, although I'd personally draw it at 16 (here in the UK you can join the army at 16; if you can die for your country, you should be able to choose those would send you to do so).

            • by digitig (1056110)

              (here in the UK you can join the army at 16; if you can die for your country, you should be able to choose those would send you to do so).
              Well, as the use of child soldiers is one of the gripes that Amnesty International has against the UK, a better solution might be to raise the age at which folks can join the armed forces.
          • I think the reason minors aren't allowed to vote is due to the fact that they don't much have the capacity to understand the ramifications of who they vote for.

            Then they shouldn't be forced to pay taxes, or in some cases be fully responsible for their actions in a court of law.
          • It is worth pointing out that a whole lot of US people pre-US civil rights movement thought that blacks didn't much have the capacity to understand the ramifications of who they voted for. I'm not for minors voting, but this is really a rather dangerous and somewhat silly reason.
      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        You are right, instead, we should let happen what would happen.

        Maybe people who accept internet vote should be punished by living in a country where botnet owners can chose their government.

        Then I'll need to move to Sealand
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Xtravar (725372)
      Actually, quite the opposite. We know the politicians and system so well that we know we'll be throwing our votes away. Speaking from an American point of view, if it were easier to throw our votes away, maybe a third party would have a chance!
    • maybe if you can't be bothered to make that effort then your vote shouldn't count...


      OTOH, maybe if you can't be bothered to learn how to use the internet then your vote shouldn't count?


      There are many tasks that I could do in a 200m radius, but I still do online if I can. And it's not just a question of effort, it can be a question of time, security, convenience, maybe it's raining, etc.

    • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:10PM (#18920703) Journal
      One of my biggest gripes about elections is how simplified the issues have become, and how difficult it is to understand what each candidate *really* stands for.

      IF they instituted online voting they could have drop down boxes for each candidate with summaries of opinions and hyperlinks to voting records, speeches... Hell, they could even link in the publically disclosed lists of contributors. I believe most voters don't have the time or inclination to do this sort of research on their own, but might be more inclined if the info was more easily accesible.

      A voter could spend all the time they like reading about each candidate and issue on the ballot *while* casting their vote.

      All it would take is some legislation and a bit of funding to amass the linked materials.

      Political spin would have a reduced effect on anyone with enough motivation to click a couple of links.

      Regards.
      • by VJ42 (860241) * on Sunday April 29, 2007 @04:42PM (#18920961)

        summaries of opinions and hyperlinks to voting records, speeches...
        If you are in the UK, then I think that this is what you're looking for: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ [theyworkforyou.com]
      • by jimicus (737525) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:22PM (#18921259)
        IF they instituted online voting they could have drop down boxes for each candidate with summaries of opinions and hyperlinks to voting records, speeches... Hell, they could even link in the publically disclosed lists of contributors. I believe most voters don't have the time or inclination to do this sort of research on their own, but might be more inclined if the info was more easily accesible.

        The current mechanism of voting in the UK is:

        1. You walk into a small booth, about the size of a telephone box. It's completely open on one side, but the other sides consist of a sheet of board about 7' high.
        2. You draw a cross next to the name of the person you want to vote for.
        3. You fold your ballot paper once and place it in a locked metal box in the middle of the room.

        It would be trivially easy to print out information similar to what you describe and pin it up inside the booth. I suspect the reason why they don't is because if the slightest piece of information that gets put up is wrong, or perhaps somehow unfair to a specific party, then the wronged party would have kittens.

        This isn't a problem which can be solved by adding "... on the Internet!" to the voting procedure. About the most detail they'd be likely to provide would be a link to the party website.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Millenniumman (924859)
        If someone has internet access, which is necessary for this ridiculous scheme anyway, then they have the resources at their disposal to easily find all the information in the world about the candidates they will be voting for. If they choose not to do so, they don't care. You can't force information on them.

        And no, you can never, ever, expect to get objective and complete political information from one source, especially a government one. You'll have the same "political spin", but one sided.

        I can see it now
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by normuser (1079315) *

      I've never had to walk more than 200m to get to vote - maybe if you can't be bothered to make that effort then your vote shouldn't count...


      You WALKED 200 miles? wouldnt driving be a litle easier?
    • by vertinox (846076)
      I've never had to walk more than 200m to get to vote - maybe if you can't be bothered to make that effort then your vote shouldn't count...

      Its not the walk that bothers most people, but rather the 3 hour line in some places due to underfunding of local elections.

      I know some states have laws that say employers must allow time off to vote, but most states don't.
      • by digitig (1056110)
        Never seen queues like that in UK elections. Never had to queue at all in any UK election, and I've only missed one (I was away on business at short notice) in 33 years.
  • How likely? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:06PM (#18920187) Journal
    Very likely if they can find a company (NOT Diebold) who can manage to make it a secure process. I certainly appreciate all the things that are government related that I can do online now. Voting would be useful. Those that don't want to, or cannot vote online can continue to do so at voting stations. The combination should cover everyone.... IF they can make it secure and keep the graft out of the process.
    • by cs02rm0 (654673)
      They can't make it secure though. Never have, never will. And politicians like holes in systems they can exploit to win elections, I'd rather not add more opportunities for them to take.

      I keep hearing about how everyone in the UK wants online voting - no one ever asked me and I fear these stories will influence the politically and technically ignorant masses who lack such healthy cynicism!
      • by malsdavis (542216)
        Actually voting can be made secure, the only thing that is impossible is for it to be anonymous and secure. However since voting in the UK isn't actually anonymous anyway (ballot papers have a personally identifiable reference number to prevent fraud), this point is mute.
    • Yes, they can make it secure on the receiving end. But they cannot secure the machine of the user. Banks have that problem already and they're losing money because of it (i.e. it's something that they care about), and they can't fix it either.

      Why should politicians (you know, the guys with the tubes) have more success in securing something that doesn't really bother them too much?
    • by Aqua OS X (458522)
      I posted this a week ago, and it may very well be nothing, but the folks at Alternet were raising concerns about the reporting of vote tallies in Ohio during the 04 election.

      http://www.alternet.org/story/50941/ [alternet.org]

      More specifically, they were concerned that the Ohio Secretary of State was hosting, tallying, and reporting election results with hardware / software architectures developed by companies with partisan connections.
    • by digitig (1056110)
      How will they make it secure? In particular, how will they make sure that a dominating head of household doesn't cast all the household votes? The present system isn't great at that, but online voting will make it all but impossible.
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:09PM (#18920211)
    Should be like you driving test. If you want it , turn up and fucking do it. The world is not there for your wishful may or may not convenience.
    • Its bad enough with the online banking exploits out there, and those are kept in-check because there's no anonymity and both the bankers and the customers can check their statements and trace all activities back to their account numbers.

      I'll say it again: Computer voting is Stupid By Design.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jez9999 (618189)
      I've never understood all this 'encouraging people to vote' bullshit. The answer to me seems simple. Make it fucking MANDATORY, and put a 'none of the above box' on the ballot. Problem solved. I would be just fine with the few hundred lazy morons who couldn't be bothered to vote being in jail. Australia shows that it's quite feasible.
      • It would show in the statistics that the majority doesn't think any of the candidates are fit for the office.

        Presidental elections are mandatory here, and by custom the first thing the new president does is declare a general amnesty for all those who didn't come to vote. It would be a farce anyway.
        • by cliffski (65094)
          The inconvenience of voting is a trivial issue, its the way the votes are counted that puts people off.

          First past The Post (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plurality_voting_sys tem) is our deeply flawed and useless voting system. In a hypothetical seat with 100 voters, you want to put the effort in to win 51 of them. winning 49 wastes all your effort, and any support beyond 51 is a waste as well. If you think you won't win 51 of those voters, you can basically treat them as cannon fodder for policies that le
      • Amen to that.

        I don't think you need to jail them. A fine should do, deducted from whatever your PAYE equivalent is. Or removed directly from your benefits.

        I used to not vote due to apathy. A lot of people had a go at me with the 'if you don't vote you can't complain' line. I still have no truck with that, I will complain when I like ;)

        I vote now, even though my vote is always against the mainstream, even though my vote means nothing and does nothing to change my local or national democracy. But I vote t
      • by digitig (1056110)

        I've never understood all this 'encouraging people to vote' bullshit. The answer to me seems simple. Make it fucking MANDATORY, and put a 'none of the above box' on the ballot. Problem solved.
        Yeah, take away yet another of our civil liberties, great idea. Any party that did that would never ever get my vote again.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      The world is not there for your wishful may or may not convenience.

      But I thought that was the point of politics to provide to the citzens in the first place. ;)

      Should be like you driving test. If you want it , turn up and fucking do it.

      I hate to break it to you, but I showed up to a test once about 15 years ago and now I just renew my license online (my state supports online registration)

      All I have to do is show up at a valid photo booth with the information the State DOT mails me and they take a photo of m
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Personally, I think they should making voting a national holiday and encourages business to close much like Christmas or New Year's and let people know that this is something that should be celebrated and encouraged in all forms."

        While that is a very nice thought, it isn't practical. There are WAY too many elections throught the year...at least in all the states in the US. You have local elections, state elections, national elections...and they don't always happen at the same time. That would mean just w

      • by jimicus (737525)
        Lastly, this would also alleviate local voting issues when there aren't enough polls around to allow people to vote in a timely manner. Remember in 2004 when people had 3-9 hour waits in places where the booths were understaffed and under equipped.

        Did you even read the headline? This is the UK.

        We elect only a handful of officials - nothing like the number of people in the US whose position is elected. Our system is therefore a lot simpler and less prone to breakage - we really don't need anything complica
  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr&hotmail,com> on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:10PM (#18920215) Homepage
    I think e-voting can work. As long as the votes are kept totally public then I see it as being viable. It's the only way you can be sure everyone's vote was really counted how it should've been. The moment you start hiding votes and secreting them away you introduce the possibility for corruption from the organizers.

    So, my question is: what's wrong with everyone knowing what everyone else voted? Does it create bias in the workplace? Do Liberal bosses see their Conservative employees votes and thus not give them raises, or worse, in an at-will state such as mine, just fire them outright?

    Is this the kind of person you want to be your boss anyway? Wouldn't the system naturally cleanse itself from people like that? Sure, at first it'd be a bumpy road and a lot of chaos would ensue, but it seems to be the final state of things would be a lot smoother than the state of not even knowing if your vote was counted right, or if the people counting the votes stacked them somehow. It just seems like hiding votes has always been a crutch.

    But please, correct me if I'm wrong...

    TLF
    • by DarkEntity (1089729) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:30PM (#18920399)
      The reason you don't want everyone else to know how other people voted is that knowing for sure how someone voted can lead to intimidation, bribery, and the like. Having an open ballot discourages sincere voting by subjecting people to even more peer pressure. As cliché as it might seem, peer pressure really would have a large effect in a thing such as this. Past peer pressure, there is always intimidation. Vote the wrong way and you'll pay. Ya dig?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dogtanian (588974)

      It's the only way you can be sure everyone's vote was really counted how it should've been. The moment you start hiding votes and secreting them away you introduce the possibility for corruption from the organizers.

      Some of what I studied in my computer science degree course was just how people could find out their vote had been counted correctly; can't remember how it was done, but it certainly wasn't "just show everyone's votes".

      So, my question is: what's wrong with everyone knowing what everyone else voted?

      It creates the potential for intimidation on the basis of voting, and the ability to skew the vote that way. Jesus, in some countries simply *voting* is enough to make you the target of violence. (Please don't use that as justification for saying "well, it won't make any difference if they

      • And the people who didn't like you and want to kill you on the basis of your vote aren't your friends anyway! Seriously, I think you're living in some fantasy libertarian lala land.

        You may be right. Maybe I'm naive to think people would be able to work together despite knowing who each other voted for. I guess I'm delusional to think the human race can get along with each other and cooperate despite the fact that some of them may have voted for a different politician. I thought we were beyond that. I pe

        • by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @06:27PM (#18921737) Homepage

          I guess I'm delusional to think the human race can get along with each other and cooperate despite the fact that some of them may have voted for a different politician. I thought we were beyond that.
          We're not. Even if the majority of people can get along despite their differences, there will always be a minority who feel differently.

          I personally respect the opinions of my fellow citizens
          I personally respect the right of my fellow citizens to hold these opinions, but that doesn't mean to say I have to agree with them.

          and I respect their right to vote for whoever they choose.
          (Repeat previous statement)

          I would hope they extend me the same respect.
          So would I, but that's not something I'd be willing to take on trust if my job and/or life depended on it.

          Of course, greed will always be a factor. Electing one politician could very easily make or break certain types of organizations. It would definitely raise the degree of partisanship in many companies. And of course that would drive things like intimidation.
          You assume that losing your job is the worst thing that could happen. As I said above, in some countries, you could lose your life; particularly if the government is hostile. And I don't like the idea of my voting record being open; things could change in the future.

          But I still think eventually it would smooth out and the lines would be drawn more clearly.
          Unfortunately, they may be drawn in favour of those in power, or those who have greatest power in your local (voting) area, not necessarily in favour of democracy. Again, please excuse me if I don't take this one on trust.

          Most importantly I think the people who endorsed tolerance and understanding and remained non-partisan would be the most successful.
          Why?

          I think it would be the party hard-liners that would get pushed to the periphery, leaving the rest of (the majority) us sensible folk to actually accomplish something.
          No offence, but I think you're being overly idealistic. And yes, idealism is okay if it gives you the idea of the way you'd like things to be, but it's a lousy foundation to build a voting system, society, or any "real life" structure upon. That's why communism turns to dictatorship so easily; the idea is built on a fundamentally idealistic view of human nature and will inevitably fall, or be corrupted at the highest level to ensure its continued existence, destroying its stated purpose in the process.

          It's a cliche, but you know the expression about "one bad apple". Perhaps you think I have a somewhat cynical and downbeat view of humanity; well, I probably do, but that's not the problem here. Put simply, there only need to be a relatively small percentage of corrupt, selfish people (basically those with psychopathic or simply selfish behaviour) to subvert and exploit any system which relies on an overly idealistic view of humanity. The "bad apples".

          Until the human race fundamentally changes, these people will always be with us, and I certainly don't intend letting them destroy things.
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      How do you deal with a large, well-funded organization that says simply "Send us your vote receipt and if you voted for our candidate, we'll send you $10" Or $20. Or $50. The amount isn't really relevent.

      How many people will vote "their principals" rather than with their wallet?

      It would be almost impossible to prevent this sort of thing once you make voting verifiable in any way after voting. Sure, there might have to be a bit more subtlty with the offer, but it would be impossible to stop completely.
    • A strong argument often raised against open voting is that disinterested people would have their votes purchased. Given that in most jurisdictions turnout rarely goes over 60% there's a lot of scope for purchase. This would then lead to the richest 1% having say 80% influence (which may not be a bad thing).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I thought about this whole purchasing votes idea. I tried to imagine that I was one of the people who sold their vote. Let's say I sold it to Bush in '04. For example sake let's say now in '07 I really regret selling my vote to him because I think he's screwed up really badly. Maybe this next election I won't sell my vote, and in fact will go vote for who I think is the best. This is probably better than the original situation, in which I never would've voted at all.

        TLF
        • I thought about this whole purchasing votes idea. I tried to imagine that I was one of the people who sold their vote. Let's say I sold it to Bush in '04. For example sake let's say now in '07 I really regret selling my vote to him because I think he's screwed up really badly. Maybe this next election I won't sell my vote, and in fact will go vote for who I think is the best. This is probably better than the original situation, in which I never would've voted at all.

          So your argument for openly encouraging v

          • Yeah, I guess it is. It creates a system of balance that most people ignore or don't see entirely. Example of how it *might* have worked out. (I am not for or against anybody in this example)

            Year 2000 presidential election.

            GWB 'bribes' or 'buys' enough votes to win. 9/11 ensues. War and economic unrest ensue.
            People who sold their vote in 2000 are wondering if it was worth it. How much did they get? $100 each? $1000? $1000 seems barely possible considering to 'buy' just 1000 votes at such a cost woul
            • Because your scenario has all the reality of pretty pink unicorns.

              1) People aren't going to rethink. People don't care. People would rather rationalize their action than admit the possibility of being wrong. People will be bribed to vote the desired way, election after election, and, yes, they will be bribed for $100, or even $10, in numbers large enough to swing election. We're talking about people who can't be bothered to take half-an-hour to vote in a convenient polling station, no matter what's at s
    • So, my question is: what's wrong with everyone knowing what everyone else voted? Does it create bias in the workplace? Do Liberal bosses see their Conservative employees votes and thus not give them raises, or worse, in an at-will state such as mine, just fire them outright?

      Is this the kind of person you want to be your boss anyway? Wouldn't the system naturally cleanse itself from people like that? Sure, at first it'd be a bumpy road and a lot of chaos would ensue, but it seems to be the final state of thi

    • by jejones (115979)
      You are wrong. The system won't "cleanse itself." If others can determine how you voted, then you won't vote your true preference, at least not in some cases. It lends itself to abuse... as does voting online, because someone, e.g. an abusive spouse, could look over your shoulder.

      Or how about this: the local union holds an "online voting party" and invites all its members. Of course, they'll be able to see how you vote, and if you decline the invitation, well, you must be trying to hide something, right?
    • by Hennell (1005107)
      Other then the reason someone mentioned above, of 'buying votes' there is also case for bias. I'm not sure how much it would effect general workplaces, the rate of apathy in this country means I don't think that many people would care, but certain career paths, and voters for certain strong view parties might have problems.
      I don't recall all the details, but there was a case a while back of parents complaining about a teacher because he was fund-raising for the BNP. Similarly police officers would face scr
    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      It's the only way you can be sure everyone's vote was really counted how it should've been.
      That's not true. There are plenty of ways to cryptographically verify a vote without exposing it publically using techniques like hashing and digital signatures. IF you look through prior Slashdot discussions there are a number of novel paper-based approaches as well.
      • That's not true. There are plenty of ways for the people controlling the process to cryptographically verify a vote without exposing it publically using techniques like hashing and digital signatures. IF you look through prior Slashdot discussions there are a number of novel paper-based approaches as well.

        Fixed.

        Point is, when I vote, I sometimes feel like there's no way for me to know if it really counted. When you see what everyone voted for, and NONE of those people are up in arms because their vote was

    • by makomk (752139)
      You're wrong. There's enough problems of that sort with postal voting [timesonline.co.uk] already (see particularly the claim about "Asian voting networks").
    • So, my question is: what's wrong with everyone knowing what everyone else voted? Does it create bias in the workplace? Do Liberal bosses see their Conservative employees votes and thus not give them raises, or worse, in an at-will state such as mine, just fire them outright?

      Perhaps. It's happened before, and it happens all over the world in countries with less strongly established democratic principles. Look up the phrase 'rotten borough', a constituency where the landlord corruptly controls both the elec

  • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:13PM (#18920253) Journal
    "Given security and privacy concerns in the states, how likely is this to appeal to US voters? "

    For anyone to trust online voting, we would need some sort of paper trail or other form of accountibility. Can I print out a vote receipt? Not in the US.
    Heck the only reason that we kinda trust the voting system we have is tradition and a lack of other choice. No the two party political system here is actually reliant on the electoral college and the untrackable vote to hold their two faceted monopoly on US Government. For further reading: http://gning.org/electoral.html [gning.org]
    • by Sj0 (472011)
      I was thinking about this, and the designers are morons. We don't need a fancy electronic interface. That's just pork. What would work best would be having a system where you simply feed your paper voting card into an "electronic box" which would use the same technology used to grade multiple choice quizes for ages to determine who you voted for before sending the voting slip to a big bag of votes in case they need to be recounted. Giving every voting booth a big fancy CRT in an extremely breakable box is j
  • by Burz (138833) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:15PM (#18920265) Journal
    There is no satisfactory way around this basic fact.

    Conduct elections online, and you open the process up to massive abuse where anonymity effectively become nullified.

    For audits and recounts, computer forensics aren't nearly up to the abilities of traditional forensics. Physical ballots are why the Florida 2000 problems were so readily apparent.

    Having computers print out physical (human-readable) ballots is fine. But trying to make an electronic "ballot" work anonymously is sheer stupidity.
  • by geoff lane (93738) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:23PM (#18920331)
    One of the major reasons for a confidential voting process taking place in the voting booth is that it is difficult to intimidate the voter or make vote buying effective. As soon as the vote takes place elsewhere all kinds of influences become possible and almost impossible to detect or prevent.

    • One of the major reasons for a confidential voting process taking place in the voting booth is that it is difficult to intimidate the voter or make vote buying effective. As soon as the vote takes place elsewhere all kinds of influences become possible and almost impossible to detect or prevent.

      There are already problems with the postal voting system; intimidation, coercion and fraud. Throw in the issues of traceability and massively insecure and trojan-ridden computers half the country have and online voting is a damned stupid idea.

    • by Zarhan (415465) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:47PM (#18920521)
      Already solved in Estonia. You can vote as many times as you want online, only your latest vote count. So if someone peers over your shoulder making sure you vote right, you can just change your vote as soon as he's gone. Also, by going to the actual physical voting booth you can also override any online votes if all else fails.

    • in the voting booth it is difficult to intimidate the voter or make vote buying effective

      One thing that must be noted is that voter intimidation must be a scalable process to be effective. Even if one or other particular voter could be intimidated by neighbors or relatives at home, it's much easier to do it wholesale when everybody has to go to a certain place to vote.

      Let's say the local drug lord has spread the word that "for every vote for candidate X a random house will be burned down in the neighborhoo

  • The biggest problem with the diebold machines is the lack of an auditable and voter-verified paper trail. How is it possible to have one with voting online? Either the voters have no way of making sure their vote was counted, or they are given a receipt which opens the door to vote buying and intimidation.

    The only thing I can think of was a story here sometime ago which mentioned a design of a ballot which provided a voter verifiable receipt without revealing their vote, but I recall it being quite complica
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:45PM (#18920509)
    I see every day trojans that are able to manipulate your online banking, altering the amount transfered and the target account, all the while making it impossible for the user to even notice it if he doesn't know where to look (i.e. in the inner workings of his system).

    How much more interesting would it be to change his vote cast to a party you deem more desirable than the one that he actually wanted to pick?

    Democracy is too valuable a thing to hand it to a machine. Money, fine. Business, ok. But not politics.
  • Brilliant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kbox (980541) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:46PM (#18920511) Homepage
    Now we will be able to shop, gamble and decide the fate of our own countries education and healthcare systems from the comfort of our fat sweaty arses.. Let me know when i can download fresh air and i'll never have to leave my house ever again.
  • There's no way the current US administration would want younger people voting in greater percentages than they have to put up with now. It's too bad the slack jawed yokels can't figure out how to vote online too -- it'd at least even the two groups out!

  • by hey! (33014) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @03:48PM (#18920531) Homepage Journal
    Just because somebody says they're more likely to vote online doesn't mean they want online voting.

    It just means they admit there are times they might vote online when they wouldn't bother to go to the polls. It doesn't mean they think that online voting is better, or as good.

    I've missed a couple elections over the last two decades. They were local elections for offices where I didn't think there was much difference between the candidates, and I was scheduled for business travel. It wasn't worth it to reschedule my trip or get an abstentee ballot. If we voted on line, I'd have voted remotely and I suppose I wouldn't have missed any elections.

    So technically, this article would count me as ready to "embrace" online voting, even though I'd fight the idea tooth an nail if it ever came up. If it was the only way to vote, I'd vote that way. I might, over the course of my life, vote in a half dozen elections that I would otherwise have skipped because they weren't important for me. However, I'd never trust any election result again, including the ones that are important to me.
  • No we don't (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    May I say, as an Englishman who's opinions are pretty middle of the road and representative, we want no such thing.

    This report is a concoction. Based on the evidence of what I've seen in the United States I have no faith in
    electronic voting systems whatsoever.

    I will absent myself from the country and use my legally ensured right to vote by post if necessary.
  • OK, so you have a web page that allows anyone to vote. Maybe you restrict it by IP address to a geographical location, as much as that is possible. No restriction in multiple voting.

    If you are motivated enough, you can vote 100 times for the same candidate. So what? If you are really motivated or have enough funding, you can get 1000 people to enter votes for you. How is this different from the current situation where party hacks drive around picking up people to take them to the polling place today?

    If
  • NO NO NO (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CranberryKing (776846)
    E-voting is the worst idea that ever had an e- in front of it. Just don't do it. If it were up to me, I would make voting even more manual and paper based. Do all the totaling manually with a pencil and let me check your work. Absolutely THE WRONG application of technology.

    Now I know that there will be lots of geeks immediately thinking of technical feasibility and a system architecture seems to want to start drawing itself in my head too. But this is just one thing you never want to make "more efficient".

    W
  • by sirkha (1015441)
    Online voting would be great! But only if it was administered by a neutral third party. Like Switzerland. Or better yet, a Swiss bank.
  • Here's what the survey actually says:

    "Half of the kids who rarely vote say they'd probably vote if they could do so without getting off their fat asses, but two thirds of the people who actually vote say it's crap. Oh, and a trial run shows the lazy kids are full of crap anyway; when they can vote this way, they still don't."

    Let people use email to request their absentee ballots; evoting, done. Next problem.
  • "I begin with the young. We older ones are used up. We are rotten to the marrow. We are cowardly and sentimental. We are bearing the burden of a humiliating past, and have in our blood the dull recollection of serfdom and servility. But my magnificent youngsters! Are there any finer ones in the world? Look at these young men and boys! What material! With them, I can make a new world. This is the heroic stage of youth. Out of it will come the creative man, the man-god."

    "When an opponent declares, 'I will not
  • NTL:Telewest are a cable company/ISP.

    They're hardly likely to promote research which says "Actually, most people couldn't care less about voting online."
  • If you vote with buggy software you'll get a buggy president.
  • by volkris (694) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @05:30PM (#18921317)
    The fundamental issue that I've never seen addressed concerns the security of the voter himself. Everyone is focused on encryption and security of the vote once it's been placed, but what I never see any discussion of is the following:

    One major reason to have polling places is to attempt to guarantee a situation where a voter can go into a little room and cast his ballot without any threat and with deniability. There's nobody in the booth with him ensuring that he's voted the way he's been told or paid to vote.

    Allowing people to vote from wherever they want MAY still grant anonymity, but we'll never be sure of the circumstances behind the vote. There could be a man with a gun or a checkbook watching the ballot being cast.

    Even if all of the engineering and political challenges are overcome, this sort of voting has more fundamental issues that may not be solvable.
  • A Bad Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Millenniumman (924859) on Sunday April 29, 2007 @08:44PM (#18922645)
    This is a bad idea, for many reasons.

    For every reason that people oppose electronic voting, this is much worse. The machines aren't even visible to the voter, there is no paper trail at all. It's a black box, but there isn't even a box visible to the voter. You have no idea if your vote was counted correctly.

    Securing the system will be very hard, with tons of people trying to hack it, and being able to do so anonymously and from anywhere in the world.

    People will have to get some kind of password to vote, and will have to register, and at least the former can't be done on the internet. This eliminates the purpose of online voting. I guess you could send everyone a password, though.

    It will open new doors for corruption. There will be no secret ballot at all, and selling your vote will be incredibly easy. As will voter coercion.

    And last, it has no great benefit. If someone is too lazy and/or apathetic to go to the polls to vote, they don't need to be voting.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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