Feeds

Campaign calls for safe e-voting

Audit trail

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A coalition of technical, legal and political experts yesterday launched the free e-democracy project to ensure that electronic voting can be trusted by voters and politicians across Europe.

Voters and candidates must be able to feel certain that voting intentions are accurately recorded. If any doubts arise then all interested parties must be able to verify and audit all aspects of the election, the project says.

The coalition includes groups such as the free e-democracy project, the Usability Professionals' Association and the Foundation for Information Policy Research. It warns that voter trust in the electoral process could be destroyed. without such safeguards debacles such as the count of votes in the last US Presidential election are likely to be repeated on this side of the Atlantic, it warns.

E-voting risks

Computerised voting is inherently subject to programming error, human error, equipment malfunction and malicious tampering. Due to the opaque nature of the technologies involved, which few understand, it is crucial that electronic voting systems provide a voter-verifiable audit trail. This must be achieved without compromising the secrecy and integrity of the ballot.

We'd note that e-voting is surely an application where the transparency of open source technologies comes into its own. But rather than getting into such technical debate, the coalition is sticking to general points of principle.

Louise Ferguson, a board member of the Usability Professionals' Association and a leader of its voting project, said: "We need to ensure that new systems for voting are well designed and secure, or we risk losing voter confidence in the democratic process."

E-voting systems lacking these safeguards are being rushed upon voters across Europe with little regard for the risks and the costs to our democracies, according to the coalition.

The UK has held e-voting trials in local government elections, and will hold more as part of the 2004 European elections. France, Spain and Ireland have also held trials. E-voting is already established in Belgium and Switzerland.

The European Commission is looking at introducing e-voting across the EU, and the Council of Europe is developing guidelines for elections involving e-voting.

Campaign manifesto

The campaign calls on all concerned European citizens to sign up to a resolution demanding a voter-verifiable audit trail.

Jason Kitcat, a campaign founder, said: "This is an issue which needs to gain the attention of politicians before it's too late and we have unauditable electronic election systems installed. Our hope is that by mobilising the voices of technical, legal and political experts we can nip this potentially disastrous problem in the bud."

Mikko Valimaki, chairman of Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI), added: "We have already seen real problems with e-voting machines in the US. One candidate in the 2000 US elections was awarded -16,022 votes due to a technical error. While this problem was fixed in time, in a democratic society we cannot tolerate software or hardware errors in the voting system." ®

External Links

Resolution on voter verifiable e-voting (campaign home page)

Related Stories

UK e-voting pilots deeply flawed
Fraud potential found in e-voting systems
FIPR highlights e-voting risks
E-voting could cure voter apathy
E-voting: another UK Government gimmick?
Govt unveils plans for eDemocracy
Bush hand-count hypocrisy shot down
Hack the Vote!

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.