Go-slow approach for internet voting
Oct 23, 2013 / 2:00 pm
Elections BC is not recommending a province-wide approach to internet voting in the future.
In a preliminary report released Wednesday morning, Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer, recommends the province move cautiously when it comes to the idea of implementing internet voting for both provincial and municipal elections.
The report, prepared by an Independent Panel on Internet Voting, states that, while internet voting has been investigated by various jurisdictions around the world over the past 15 years, it is still not widely implemented.
It is only used in a limited number of jurisdictions and only on a limited basis.
Archer states the 'weighing the challenges to implementing internet voting in specific circumstances is the role of policy-makers.'
"There is a high level of trust in the current voting process used at the local and provincial government levels, but there are opportunities for improvement in each," concluded Archer.
"The panel believes that internet voting has the potential to be an additional voting channel for voters with specific accessibility challenges in future local or provincial government elections, providing that the recommendations outlined in this report are followed and any system implemented complies with the principles established by the panel."
The report further states it is not feasible for internet voting to be implemented for 2014 municipal government elections.
The panel concluded there are inherent benefits and risks to implementing an internet voting system but states presumed benefits such as increased voter turnout and lower costs are not typically realized.
The report set forth four specific recommendations, including:
- Do not implement universal Internet voting for either local or provincial government elections at this time. However, if Internet voting is implemented, its availability should be limited to those with specific accessibility challenges. If Internet voting is implemented on a limited basis, jurisdictions need to recognize that the risks to the accuracy of the voting results remain substantial.
- Take a province-wide coordinated approach to Internet voting.
- Establish a technical committee to evaluate Internet voting systems and support jurisdictions that wish to implement approved systems.
- Evaluate any Internet voting system against the principles established by the panel:
- Ballot anonymity
- Individual and independent verifiability
- Non-reliance on the trustworthiness of the voter’s device(s)
- One vote per voter
- Only count votes from eligible voters
- Process validation and transparency
- Service availability
- Voter authentication and authorization
The panel is inviting public comment on the report through the Independent Panel on Internet Voting website until Dec 4.
The panel will review the constructive feedback it receives and consider that feedback for its final report to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly in early 2014.
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