May 9, 2011
Email voting? Why not, one might ask?! A lot of folks use the false analogy of online banking to argue that email voting should be allowed for the convenience and accessibility of voters. Not a moment of thought is given to the security risks involved. So I’ve done a brief Fact Sheet summarizing the major arguments against returning voted ballots via email. I’m OK with distribution of blank ballots via email but not the return of voted ballots by the same method.
Oregon, like many other states, considering authorizing email return of ballots — the bill is HB 3074 and this post is directed toward that proposed law, but could effectively be applied to a host of other states which are considering similar legislation (or perhaps need to review already adopted laws in light of these arguments). Read the rest of this entry »
July 31, 2010
Right now there’s a lot of hype, hoopla and hyperventilating about the nominating process of one of Oregon’s minor parties, the “Independent Party.” Party leaders called it a “primary” and the media has followed suit.
Political commentators and executives from the private company that conducted the tally using proprietary software are all breathlessly predicting that this is the future of voting and pointing to scattered examples where online voting has been used elsewhere, not always with complete success (that’s the subject of another post, which I’ve partially addressed in a discussion about Hawaii’s low-turnout experiment in 2008). Read the rest of this entry »
July 9, 2010
Yes, even cowgirls (and cowboys) can get the blues when they’re astride a horse or behind the wheel of a jeep out in the don’t-fence-me-in terrain of the West. Nary a cell-tower in sight amidst all the purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain. Not even “another roadside attraction” (apologies to Tom Robbins for the double reference to his novels). Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2009
Yesterday was the deadline to submit comments to the FCC regarding the use of the internet for voting as well as other broadband issues. The context was a nationwide push to extend broadband access to under-served areas of the country, an effort similar in scope to the rural electrification program of the 1930′s and ’40′s. It will take a major infusion of cash to build out this infrastructure.
So the FCC asked for public comment. And, boy, did they get a virtual earful! As of today there are 917 filings posted online. Read the rest of this entry »
August 27, 2009
Recently, Hawaii held a first-in-nation all-digital election for local district races using telephone and internet technologies. The company providing the technological solutions hailed the election as a great success. In reality, voter participation plummeted to a fraction of the previous levels. If this was supposed to encourage more voters to cast a ballot by making it more convenient, it was an epic fail. The drop in voter participation was a dramatic 83 percent — let me say this again — epic fail . http://www.kitv.com/politics/19573770/detail.html
March 3, 2009
The idea of being to cast one’s ballot on the internet has a seductive appeal — the deceptive facade of web security leads many to make a giant leap and assume that internet voting will give military personnel and others stationed abroad a safe gateway to participation in U.S. elections. Many even compare online voting to online banking or the common use of ATMs as evidence that the risks of internet voting can be mitigated. A closer examination shows that this complacency about the true risks of internet voting is based on false comparisons and could lead to a rush to embrace internet voting without due consideration being given to the very real dangers of internet voting.
Let us consider in turn the four main areas of concern which much be addressed:
● the potential for breaches of the secret ballot,
● the open door to voter fraud,
● the insecure nature of the internet,
● the budgetary impact of developing a system of online voting.
Breaching the secret ballot
The secret ballot for each and every voter should be sacred. That is a bedrock American value, intrinsic to our election system. If internet voting is implemented we will be asking an important segment of voters to give up their right to ballot secrecy. Using current technology there is no way that a ballot cast on the internet can be completely dissociated from a particular voter and thus any citizen casting a vote over the internet would be implicitly waiving their right to a secret ballot. Why should overseas voters, especially those deployed by the DOD in Iraq or Afghanistan, have fewer rights than any other American citizen? Why should the military deployed overseas, of all groups of voters, be asked towaive their right to the secret ballot? The secret ballot is one of the American values that our military are defending and they should not be given fewer rights to secrecy than their fellow citizens stateside. Read the rest of this entry »