Azara Blog: E-voting open to fraud

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Date published: 2007/06/24

The BBC says:

British democracy could be undermined by moves to use electronic voting in elections, warns a report.

The risks involved in swapping paper ballots for touch screens far outweigh any benefits they may have, says the Open Rights Group report.

It based its conclusions on reports from observers who watched e-voting trials in May's local elections.

The group called for a halt to e-voting until it is reliable, easy to oversee and has proven its integrity.

Observers acting for the ORG scrutinised local elections in England which tried out e-voting as well as Scottish elections using electronic counting systems to tally votes.

What the observers saw led the ORG to express "serious concerns" about e-voting and whether it should be used local and national elections. In England, e-voting systems using kiosks, laptops, touch screens and mobile phones have been tried.

The ORG's main objection was that e-voting was currently a "black box" system which stopped voters seeing how their votes were recorded or counted.

This, said the ORG, made oversight of elections "impossible" and left them open to "error and fraud".

The report criticised the lack of a rigorous certification scheme to ensure that the hardware and software used in e-voting schemes were free from vulnerabilities and protected the integrity of the voting system.

The government was warned about all of this and chose to ignore all advice except from people with a vested interest in seeing the system go ahead. Some day all voting will be e-voting, but until someone half competent sets up the system so it is not open to abuse, it is best to stick with paper.

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