Friday, July 27, 2012

Biggest Barriers to Online Elections Are No Longer Technical

Biggest Barriers to Online Elections Are No Longer Technical | Jul 20th 2012
The greatest barrier to online voting isn’t the technology but accounting for the possibility of fraud and intimidation when poll watchers aren’t monitoring the actual event, an elections expert said Thursday.

Full-fledged online voting in Estonia and a pilot program in Norway have found a creative fix by allowing voters to cast as many ballots as they want online with only the final one counting,” said Michael Yard, a Kenya-based elections expert with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

“So if you intimidate me into voting a certain way and you’re standing there behind my computer with a club or a gun I’ll vote and then you’ll leave and I’ll vote again and that supersedes it,” he said. “But even that doesn’t really work, because if you really want to force someone to vote a certain way, you can make sure I vote at the last possible minute.”

Yard was speaking at an IFES event on digital development.

The same concern has, of course, been raised about absentee ballots, which are a well-established part of the U.S. electoral system. But the prevalence of online voting, if offered, would likely dwarf absentee voting.

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