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e-Democracy news

Why the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals postponed the Governator election 15 Sep 2003. "The full decision is some 66 pages long. It includes a fairly detailed history of the punchcard ballot, and is well worth the time to read it. Instead of attempting to summarize the issues, we have gone through the text and created this collection of direct quotations that touch on the issue of usability and the effectiveness of the election." — Usability Professionals' Association.

How We Lost The Vote — How To Get It Back 7 Sep 2003. "With the introduction of Internet voting, we are truly entering the Land of Oz where one person can literally control elections across the country." — Lynn Landes.

Jolted Over Electronic Voting The Washington Post, 11 August 2003. "The rush to buy equipment this year or next year just doesn't make sense to us anymore" — Cory Fong, deputy secretary of state, North Dakota.

Does the UK need E-Voting? eGov monitor, 4 August 2003. "In short, no." — Alex Folkes, Electoral Reform Society.

Gross security flaws found in voting machines 23 July 2003. "this analysis took about a week. Very serious security blunders were discovered in a matter of hours."

'E-voting' trials at council polls led to fall in turnout The Independent, 20 June 2003. A study by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) found that voting by Internet, telephone, digital television or text messaging was a "gimmick" that failed to increase voter participation.

To Register Doubts, Press Here The New York Times, 15 May 2003. "Paul Terwilliger, director of product development at Sequoia Voting Systems, one of the largest manufacturers of electronic systems, said that while no one disputes the need for safeguards, complaints about machines like his company’s were uninformed." Well, there’s a surprise...

FIPR warns of e-voting risks, 1 May 2003: We don't think voters should need a PhD to understand the security of our voting system. The only safe way to allow electronic voting is through machines controlled by election officials that produce an auditable paper trail. Anything else is an invitation for fraud to hackers and virus writers around the world, and could destroy public confidence in our elections.

New voting methods "increase turnout", BBC News Online, 30 Mar 2003 — but can the results be trusted?

Letters to the Editor, The Times. "In the local government elections on May 1, the Conservatives will contest 83.5 per cent of the seats, Labour around 66 per cent and the Liberals just over 63 per cent. Voters are urged by the Government to vote. Yet two of three major parties (one of which forms the Government) cannot even be bothered to field candidates for one third of the seats... They have no right then to complain if a voter is equally selective and chooses not to vote." —Jeremy Lefroy

Death of the secret ballot, The Guardian, 29/4/03. Even postal voting has problems.

Are Internet ballots a vote-fixer's dream? International Herald Tribune/New York Times, 28 April 2003. Short answer — yes.

Voters 'keen on e-election' BBC News Online, 24 April 2003. They may tell pollsters that. But the Electoral Commission report on last year’s trials found that "the technology-based voting pilots appeared to have no significant impact on turnout."

Computer vandal delays leadership vote, CBC News, 25 Jan 2003 — a Canadian political party’s leadership elections were disrupted by problems with their e-voting system.

E-voting pilot given go-ahead, 23 Jan 2003.

e-Democracy resources

Rebecca Mercuri has a voluminous amount of information available on e-voting security.

A guide to e-voting by the FREE e-democracy project.

Voting and Usability from Louise Ferguson.

Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century, a look at the problems of e-voting, will be published in July 2003.

Stanford Prof. David Dill is organising an online petition opposing paperless electronic voting machines.

Secret Secret-Ballot Receipts and Transparent Integrity David Chaum's scheme to allow voters to check that their vote has been properly counted in an election, using a receipt that prevents vote-selling

Security considerations for remote electronic voting over the Internet ;login: February 2001. "Given the current state of widely deployed computers in people’s homes, the vulnerability of the Internet to denial of service attacks, and the unreliability of the Domain Name Service, we believe that the technology does not yet exist to enable remote electronic voting in public elections."

E-voting as the magic ballot? Dr. Pippa Norris of Harvard University argues that e-voting will widen the digital divide whilst having little impact on turnout. "The debate about e-voting may well prove largely irrelevant to the primary political impact of the Internet on democracy within the European Union."

Responses to e-Democracy Consultation

In July 2002 the UK Government launched a consultation on e-Democracy. A final report on the responses received is available here.

You can read the following individual responses to this consultation. We would be pleased to provide links to more.

  • FIPR's response
    The Foundation for Information Policy Research is a non-profit think-tank for Internet and Information Technology policy, governed by an independent Board of Trustees with an Advisory Council of experts.
  • Rebecca Mercuri's response
    Dr Rebecca Mercuri is one of the world's leading researchers on e-voting. She has given evidence to the US Congress, the American Academy of Sciences, the Department of Justice, the General Accounting Office and the Federal Election Commission, and has consulted on a number of legal actions (including the disputed Florida ballot).
  • The FREE e-democracy Project's response
    The FREE e-democracy Project is dedicated to creating the GNU.FREE Internet Voting system and also advocating Free Software in e-democracy. Recently work on the project ceased because "From my experience of designing and developing GNU.FREE over the past three years it has become clear that creating an Internet Voting system sufficiently secure, reliable and anonymous is extremely difficult, if not impossible."
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