Volunteers sought to scrutinise UK e-voting trials

Under the microscope

A campaign group is seeking volunteers to scrutinse e-voting trials during May's local elections in the UK.

The Open Rights Group (ORG) is looking for people prepared to "devote their day to democracy" and become an Electoral Commission accredited election observer for the e-voting pilots on Thursday 3 May. The ORG will provide full instructions to volunteers on what they'll be expected to do on the day, and tips on what to look out for in the operation of e-voting machines.

Participants will be expected to report their findings back to the ORG promptly. The campaign group is interested in the fairness of e-voting as part of its remit to "preserve and extend traditional civil liberties in the digital world".

The government plans to pilot e-voting during the upcoming May local elections as part of plans to increase voter turnout. However, critics argue that e-voting technology is unproven and, since it lacks a paper trail, more likely to be subject to fraud and disputes than traditional paper votes. The case that new voting methods might boost voter turnout is shaky, at best, critics argue.

Last week, e-voting technology leader Diebold said rising concern over the reliability and security of its machines has had a negative impact on its relationships with election officials. In a filing with the SEC, Diebold warned that further changes to the rules governing electronic voting could hurt its business. ®

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