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What do we want from e-Voting?. Stuart Anderson School of Informatics. Properties like …. Accuracy: Do we choose individual criteria or more socialised criteria? Confidentiality: we all know the current system isn’t – how hard should it be to discover how an individual (or group) voted?

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what do we want from e voting

What do we want from e-Voting?

Stuart Anderson

School of Informatics

e-voting

properties like
Properties like …
  • Accuracy: Do we choose individual criteria or more socialised criteria?
  • Confidentiality: we all know the current system isn’t – how hard should it be to discover how an individual (or group) voted?
  • Availability: given US experience it seems like “rationing” of timeslots could be a real issue.
  • From a dependability perspective the scope of the system we consider is critical and getting requirements right at that level:
    • We want e-voting to provide part of the mechanism to implement democracy.
    • Democracy: "[T]he democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote." Schumpeter (1942)

e-voting

democracy is in crisis perhaps
Democracy is in crisis … (perhaps)
  • The Power Enquiry, published today:
    • http://www.powerinquiry.org/
    • How can democracy survive when we feel politicians don’t listen?
    • How can politics be revived when fewer and fewer of us support political parties?
    • How can voting be encouraged if millions see elections as a charade?
  • Elections Minister Harriet Harman will introduce measures to combat voting fraud ahead of local elections next May.
  • ballot papers with security marks and barcodes to enable quick security checks.
  • In 2004 the electoral commissioner said postal voting was "wide open to fraud".
  • Six Labour councillors in Birmingham stepped down after Sir Richard Mawrey found evidence of postal ballot abuse that he said would disgrace a "banana republic".

e-voting

social hazards of e voting
Social hazards of e-voting
  • Schumpeter again: … by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote.
  • It needs to be a struggle, so e-voting shouldn’t be too easy.
  • Emphasis is often on issues like:
    • Large scale fraud of ballot papers
    • Coercion at the point of voting
    • Rationing access to voting: registration, supply of machines, bandwidth etc.
  • Maybe a bigger hazard is making it easy enough for unengaged people to vote.

e-voting

the case of sweden
The case of Sweden
  • Traditionally high level of voter participation pre 1998, around 85%, 1998 – 77% and dropping.
  • Ny Demokrati, or New Democracy (abbreviated Nyd), was a Swedish right-wing political party represented in the Riksdag between 1991 and 1994.
  • Campaigned for election to the national parliament on an agenda of populism, xenophobia, racism and neoliberal economic policy.
  • Opinion polls showed the party getting more than 10 % support.
  • On the election day, it received 6 % of the national vote.
  • Posed a serious problem in a PR environment.
  • Many in Sweden felt it presaged growing youth disillusionment with democracy.
  • Swedes can vote very easily – long voting period, voting at the post office, …

e-voting

summary
Summary
  • Too many politicians see easing the voting process as a way of “fixing” democracy.
  • E-voting is seen as an essential tool
  • Many potentially ignored properties of e-voting system may be essential if we are to maintain some kind of stability in the competitive struggle for votes.

e-voting