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Internet voting - should we consider?


Mattarigna

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Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
5,104
Like a lot of other developed countries, voter turnout in this country has generally being in decline. Obviously, disillusionment plays the biggest role in this, but convenience can as well. Especially for students studying a good bit away from home, voting could often mean a missed day of lectures. That is but one example.

So with that in mind, should we consider introducing the option of internet voting? If we also introduced a system of National ID numbers, it would make it relatively easy to prevent fraud, and it would especially be accessible to the younger population, who are the least likely demography to vote. It would also make voting from abroad possible, if done correctly.

As well as this, I have being thinking - what about the idea of voting by phone? Obviously, referendums would properly be the only votes that would be practical to conduct by phone, but unlike the internet, phones are universally available, and would offer much the same convenience.

Before anyone says "well, what would stop people voting more than once?", I would think that anyone proposing these would have the sense to ensure that it cannot happen.

So, what would you think of the introducing of internet and/or phone voting? Any other related comments and discussion would be welcomed.
 


Aristodemus

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Joined
Oct 8, 2009
Messages
3,738
If someone cant be arsed to go to a polling booth then tough tit
 

Dame_Enda

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Dec 14, 2011
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52,262
Yes provided it can't be hacked into. Especially helpful for the handicapped.
 

Analyzer

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Feb 14, 2011
Messages
46,187
No. Not in the EU. The problem is that it might reduce the cost of voting, and you could end up with more frequent elections. No the last thing that anybody close to a large centralized unaccountable structure of governance wants to see is more frequent voting.

Don't consult the people. The Bank bondholders wouldn't. [ waiting for some well fed plutocrat to tell the people that it would cause instability. Instability is what happens when big business does not know who to lobby.].
 

Mattarigna

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Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
5,104
No. Not in the EU. The problem is that it might reduce the cost of voting, and you could end up with more frequent elections. No the last thing that anybody close to a large centralized unaccountable structure of governance wants to see is more frequent voting.

Don't consult the people. The Bank bondholders wouldn't. [ waiting for some well fed plutocrat to tell the people that it would cause instability. Instability is what happens when big business does not know who to lobby.].
Well, I'm not in that category.
 

Spanner Island

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Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
24,199
I'd be in favour of it myself...

Unfortunately though, I suspect it wouldn't be secure and that no guarantees could be given regarding security, abuse or reassurance that it would be impossible to track how an individual votes etc...

We couldn't even get voting machines to work... not with all the hysteria that was generated by gobsh!tes...

I never did understand why in electronic voting a paper receipt couldn't be issued to confirm to the voter how they had voted...

For the first few elections they could have issued two receipts, one which was retained by the voter and another inserted into a ballot box...

They could then have compared the ballot box vote with the electronic to ensure the same numbers came up in both...

And I'll bet anyone the electronic results would have been more accurate than the ballot box results...

And then after a few elections once people had confidence in the system they could have abandoned the ballot box altogether...
 
Last edited:

EvotingMachine0197

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Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
8,641
Same problem as with voting machines - lack of verifiable audit trail.

How do you ensure all votes are registered and counted? How do you make this voter verifiable?
 

Mattarigna

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Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
5,104
Same problem as with voting machines - lack of verifiable audit trail.

How do you ensure all votes are registered and counted? How do you make this voter verifiable?
How do they count the votes in Eurovision and other such shows? How can you do online banking? If these things can be done, then it should be possible to adapt them to allow internet and phone voting.

That's where a National ID system would be used - every voter would have an individual ID, and this should be sufficient to prevent fraud.
 
Last edited:

Spanner Island

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
24,199
Same problem as with voting machines - lack of verifiable audit trail.

How do you ensure all votes are registered and counted? How do you make this voter verifiable?
If there was a will to introduce it, it would have been done...

I don't believe there was any real intent or determination to introduce it...

Apparently lots of other countries had electronic voting. We were trying to be the Silicon Valley of Europe and Bertie didn't think we looked great with our paper and pencils...

Receipts could have been given to voters to confirm their vote... and perhaps even two receipts for the first few elections... one being retained by the voter and the second inserted into a ballot box...

Then the electronic and ballot results could have been compared and checked if necessary...

I suspect the electronic result would have been the more reliable every time...

But there was no real will to introduce it all... so it didn't happen...
 

Mattarigna

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
5,104
I'd be in favour of it myself...

Unfortunately though, I suspect it wouldn't be secure and that no guarantees could be given regarding security, abuse or reassurance that it would be impossible to track how an individual votes etc...

We couldn't even get voting machines to work... not with all the hysteria that was generated by gobsh!tes...

I never did understand why in electronic voting a paper receipt couldn't be issued to confirm to the voter how they had voted...

For the first few elections they could have issued two receipts, one which was retained by the voter and another inserted into a ballot box...

They could then have compared the ballot box vote with the electronic to ensure the same numbers came up in both...

And I'll bet anyone the electronic results would have been more accurate than the ballot box results...

And then after a few elections once people had confidence in the system they could have abandoned the ballot box altogether...
In fairness, I wouldn't really push for electronic voting. I wouldn't be totally set against it either, but I would be somewhat reluctant.
 

abroad

Member
Joined
May 20, 2012
Messages
67
The recent general election here in the Netherlands had voting machines at train stations. One of my colleagues used it on his way to work. keeping it easily accessible ensures there is at least a larger turnout.

Is there a digital ID system in Ireland? This could be used to enable voting over the internet.
similar to this; DigiD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ( I know the hacking incident will have security concerns )
 

dancl2000

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
517
Like a lot of other developed countries, voter turnout in this country has generally being in decline. Obviously, disillusionment plays the biggest role in this, but convenience can as well. Especially for students studying a good bit away from home, voting could often mean a missed day of lectures. That is but one example.

So with that in mind, should we consider introducing the option of internet voting? If we also introduced a system of National ID numbers, it would make it relatively easy to prevent fraud, and it would especially be accessible to the younger population, who are the least likely demography to vote. It would also make voting from abroad possible, if done correctly.

As well as this, I have being thinking - what about the idea of voting by phone? Obviously, referendums would properly be the only votes that would be practical to conduct by phone, but unlike the internet, phones are universally available, and would offer much the same convenience.

Before anyone says "well, what would stop people voting more than once?", I would think that anyone proposing these would have the sense to ensure that it cannot happen.

So, what would you think of the introducing of internet and/or phone voting? Any other related comments and discussion would be welcomed.
as a computer security expert the problem you have with e-voting is
1) ensuring anonymity
2) auditing the count
3) preventing fraud

solutions that work involve equipment which cannot be tampered with. this means a voting machine manufactured to properly reviewed specifications in a polling station where people cant open it up, mess with the hard drive, install malware, etc. and this is very difficult to get right, there are many failed attempts.

there is no way to do this over the internet. preventing fraud largely relies on authentication, determining that a person is who they say they are essentially. which is not compatible with being anonymous.

in principle in such an e-vote-in-a-polling-station scenario the voter authenticates to a polling station attendant (by presenting id to the polling station attendant to gain admittance to the poling booth). this physical person makes sure that one person cant vote more than once by checking their name against a list. anonymity is ensured because even though the polling station attendant knows who the voter is, the polling machine doesnt.

on the internet you cant seperate the authentication from the vote in a meaningful way. in theory you could come up with some systems, but ultimately whatever electronic mechanism is used to prevent people voting more than once can be abused to correlate voters to their votes, breaking anonymity.

there are also many threats with internet voting such as someone repudiating their vote, people with viruses on their computer which votes for a candidate other than the one they intended, without their knowledge, I can come up with as many problems as you like here

basically, even if you solve anonymity for internet voting, which is very very hard, then the problem you have is most users arent able to maintain their personal computer without viruses on it, and those viruses can compromise the users vote.
 

EvotingMachine0197

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
8,641
If there was a will to introduce it, it would have been done...

I don't believe there was any real intent or determination to introduce it...

Apparently lots of other countries had electronic voting. We were trying to be the Silicon Valley of Europe and Bertie didn't think we looked great with our paper and pencils...

Receipts could have been given to voters to confirm their vote... and perhaps even two receipts for the first few elections... one being retained by the voter and the second inserted into a ballot box...

Then the electronic and ballot results could have been compared and checked if necessary...

I suspect the electronic result would have been the more reliable every time...

But there was no real will to introduce it all... so it didn't happen...
If expenditure is anything to go by then the political will was there. The problem was they went about it in an extremely arrogant fashion and ignored the advice of many experienced technical people. They also bought a totally shyte system and got ripped off no end doing it.

The second commission on EV upheld the concerns of those opposing the system, which was inevitable, and so it had to be killed off.

So I think it was political arrogance and incompetence that killed it, not lack of will.
 

oggy

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
8,958
Voting turnout in 2007 was 67% and 70% in 2011. Hard to see the internet improving that. Actually, if the voting machines were found to be technically dodgy the internet would be lethal with all the crazies around capable of interference
 

Mattarigna

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
5,104
Voting turnout in 2007 was 67% and 70% in 2011. Hard to see the internet improving that. Actually, if the voting machines were found to be technically dodgy the internet would be lethal with all the crazies around capable of interference
That was only because people really wanted FF out of government.
 

EvotingMachine0197

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
8,641
as a computer security expert the problem you have with e-voting is
1) ensuring anonymity
2) auditing the count
3) preventing fraud

solutions that work involve equipment which cannot be tampered with. this means a voting machine manufactured to properly reviewed specifications in a polling station where people cant open it up, mess with the hard drive, install malware, etc. and this is very difficult to get right, there are many failed attempts.

there is no way to do this over the internet. preventing fraud largely relies on authentication, determining that a person is who they say they are essentially. which is not compatible with being anonymous.

in principle in such an e-vote-in-a-polling-station scenario the voter authenticates to a polling station attendant (by presenting id to the polling station attendant to gain admittance to the poling booth). this physical person makes sure that one person cant vote more than once by checking their name against a list. anonymity is ensured because even though the polling station attendant knows who the voter is, the polling machine doesnt.

on the internet you cant seperate the authentication from the vote in a meaningful way. in theory you could come up with some systems, but ultimately whatever electronic mechanism is used to prevent people voting more than once can be abused to correlate voters to their votes, breaking anonymity.

there are also many threats with internet voting such as someone repudiating their vote, people with viruses on their computer which votes for a candidate other than the one they intended, without their knowledge, I can come up with as many problems as you like here

basically, even if you solve anonymity for internet voting, which is very very hard, then the problem you have is most users arent able to maintain their personal computer without viruses on it, and those viruses can compromise the users vote.
I reckon this could be done easily enough. Using real data to log in to a 'voting area' using real information - name, email address, PPS number etc.

Once in the 'voting area' a unique alias or session id is assigned to the voting session, much like in a https session. Once the vote is cast, the vote is saved with the session alias and the real person is flagged as 'already voted'. The real person's data is never stored with the vote, only the anonymous session ID.
 

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