Is online voting a good idea?

  WhiteTruckMan 11:34 03 May 2010

I received an email this morning asking me to endorse internet voting. An excerpt from it is:

"The ...................... concept is simple enough – use the Internet to empower the public to engage directly in the decision making process. The idea is to endorse one candidate in each constituency to be the .... candidate - it doesn’t involve anything extra, just could help you to get elected (and every little helps) and at least could mean that you would recover your deposit!

You are more than welcome to have your own views – again the idea is that we can agree to differ on pretty much everything, but we’re all agreed on one thing – the current system is working so badly that just about ANYTHING would be an improvement. I’m publishing the full list on my website late Monday night so that it’s there for the public to look at from Tuesday morning.

In return for being the ... endorsed candidate all I ask for is an email supporting the idea of introducing legislation to enable Internet voting. Visit www............"

(so as not to offend the forum rules I have removed the organisations name and website myself)

I have got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I feel an easier method of voting might just encourage more people to vote. on the other, I am concerned that the technology does not currently exist to ensure a secure vote in a cost effective manner, i.e. it would be very expensive indeed to implement. One might argue that billions of online financial transactions take place without incident. Yet their is always the very real threat of identity theft lurking in the background. And the prospect of a hijacked vote could be far more serious than an identity theft, with all due respect to someone who has suffered from one.

Right now I am feeling the pressure for more votes (what candidate doesnt?). But my entire campaign is a principal thing, and I'm not going to chase votes or even publicity at their expense.

Some unbiased opinions would be very welcome right now.


  canarieslover 11:52 03 May 2010

I'm a bit anti on-line voting. You know what its like when doing other things on the web, oops I didn't mean to click on that!!! How many pleas for help are there on this forum for users who have done just that and got something they didn't want? There needs to be quite a bit of thought given to protection, not just against identity theft, but against the wrong mouse click. From what I have already seen on the subject it is also going to be very expensive to put in place which is something we don't want at the moment.

  Mike D 12:02 03 May 2010

I have use a postal vote for the last few years and will be asking to go back to the old fashioned wayfor future local and general elections. Why? Well, with the exception of the Tories (because we are apparently in one of their target Labour constituencies), we have had leaflets only from Lib-dem and BNP. I have not seen a candidate for literally years, even though my neighbours regularly see them. I believe that as a household of postal voters we are wriiten off by the parties because by the time they decide to panic and canvass, we have already voted. The same will happen with internet voting, except the we will be flooded woth e-mails, facebook invitations and the like.

  Woolwell 13:47 03 May 2010

The problems with postal and internet voting are privacy, coercion and security. How do you know that all the members of a household have voted in a particular way just because the leader of the house or someone else has told them to vote that way. Or has the form been filled in by someone else and then submitted in the voter's name.
Clearly there are some people who are housebound for whom postal voting is a boon but their votes should be independently witnessed.
See click here or click here and perhaps better still click here which report on the weaknesses of the electoral system.

  morddwyd 19:30 03 May 2010

I agree that current security is not good enough to safely permit on-line voting.

However, postal voting has now been made so much easier that I'm not sure on-line voting is really needed.

I know that postal voting is also open to abuse, but since it is under the voter's signature large scale fraud would mean forging lots of different signatures, relatively easy to detect.

  WhiteTruckMan 22:11 03 May 2010

and taking into consideration the opinions expressed here - thanks, by the way - I think I am going to decline the offer. Or to be accurate, ignore it.

Plus, on reflection I don't think it would give any kind of meaningful boost to my campaign anyway.


  Forum Editor 23:21 03 May 2010

It will happen, but there's a good deal of work to be done before we all vote that way.

  WhiteTruckMan 23:57 03 May 2010

i.e. expensive. Or, given the governments track record on IT projects, prohibitively expensive given the current economic climate.

So it's still no for now.


  Quickbeam 08:37 04 May 2010

I have a vision of the mouse pointer going over my intended candidate to vote, and a huge opposition banner ad flags up, DON'T VOTE FOR THEM!...

  interzone55 09:00 04 May 2010

Parliamentry elections are supposed to be a secret ballot.

I know that it is possible, with sufficient time & patience to find out who cast a particular vote, but it's really easy to track the IP address of a visitor to a web-page.

For that reason I will not be casting my votes electronically...

  WhiteTruckMan 09:24 04 May 2010

in the media about allegations of postal vote rigging and I don't mind admitting that I am more than a little concerned at prospect.


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