Must Reads

Elections Canada Pushing For E-Voting

The Chronicle Herald reports that Elections Canada is promoting the use of e-voting, which it believes could increase voter participation.

21 Comments

  1. old school says:

    I don’t trust it
    I just don’t trust it.

    There were screams of rigged voting in the states, and releases from uni’s of how to by pass security measures on some machines (Not sure if this was “online”).

    If people don’t turn up for their rights or duty, to heck with them.

    On another note, this again raises the question of why isn’t internet deemed a right under charter, and essential by the CRTC.

    Shouldn’t these two issues also be hammered out before online voting gets a go ahead?

    …and these days when I see the word “independent”, like in the story link above, “the independent electoral watchdog says…” I don’t think it’s very independent anymore, but rather influenced to suit other “forces” and/or “funders”.

  2. Dwight Williams says:

    Uh oh.
    I smell opening up chances for vote-rigging myself. Not that it doesn’t happen elsewhere with lower-tech methods – we know it does from the headlines of the newspapers alone this past tenday – but why ask for additional opportunities to inflict trouble on our own lives?

  3. Open source it, please!
    While I think eliminating paper voting need be done sometime, I believe it should be taken under with extreme caution. While I doubt that any politician directly rigged their machines, I’m also sure that many voting employees rigged the machines for their favorite candidate. Let alone all the potential software glitches.

    So I want the software open sourced – produced on contract, maybe, but definitely reviewed by anyone who wants to. I want the software to be usable, with many tests to prove they are. I want to hardware to be the best, and well maintained – unlike the American machines.

    I want the results delivered up to the minute. (With as much regard for anonymity as possible) I want them sent to several secure facilities for redundancy.

    If all these things happen, I believe evoting could be the best thing to happen to voting.

  4. Richard Akerman says:

    electronics are not the solution, they will cause more problems
    I have written fairly extensively on why electronic voting is a bad idea in general, and why the idea of electronic voting to increase voter turnout is a bad idea specifically.

    http://papervotecanada.blogspot.com/2008/11/citizen-engagement-and-e-voting.html

    As well, whether it’s voting machines or Internet voting, it doesn’t matter whether it’s open or closed source, because you can never truly be certain what code is actually running.

    Unfortunately there is no organised opposition to electronic voting in Canada that I am aware of, unlike the many groups fighting it in the United States.

  5. Elections Canada! Where is my vote?
    Unless the electoral system becomes proportional, there is no benefit in voting.

    Elections Canada! Where is my vote?

  6. We don’t need more participation.
    We don’t need more voter participation, we need more informed voters!

  7. Paper Trail
    It is not worth the tradeoff. It is too easily cracked or rigged. This is something so important that a paper trail is needed. It is too dangerous.

  8. Why, So Harper can rig elections like Bush!
    BAD IDEA on so many levels!

  9. Open Source isn’t the answer.
    Open sourcing the software isn’t the answer. Whenever the subject of e-Voting comes up, someone always says it should be open sourced. Well, I would say that is meaningless, and that it gives us a false sense of security. And here’s why. There’s no way to verify what software is running on the machine you walk up to on election day. Just because it’s supposed to be running the approved software, on the approved hardware, doesn’t mean it actually is.

    If a teenager can mod an XBox to run whatever software they like, even though Microsoft spend millions on it to ensure it was hard to run pirated games, I’m sure that someone is going to find out how to change the running software on a voting machine. Especially with the stakes so high.

    I want pen and paper voting like we have always had. At least with that, any voter can understand exactly how it works, and ensure that they have put the X in the appropriate place. And then put it in the ballot box. If you really want to be sure, you can be there in the morning when they seal the box, to ensure there are no votes in there, and watch them open it up and count them at the end of the night. Can’t ask for a simpler system.

  10. Obviously Anonymous says:

    One Giant Problem with this idea
    The whole purpose behind the secret ballot, the voting booth, the strict anonymity of the vote, was to prevent your boss, or your union boss, or your abusive husband, or your local party organizer from watching you vote. With internet voting from home, not only can they watch and make sure you vote the way *they* want you to, they can even collect your voter ID and do it themselves.
    I’ve been a partisan hack for many years, and I’ve seen the level of organization (and shenanigans) that goes on during a campaign by all parties.
    Internet voting would simply turn the campaign into a massive effort to “collect” voter cards and vote on behalf of others.

  11. NO
    NO NO . . . and more no, we are not the USA, we don’t want our government anything like Bush’s.

  12. David Collier-Brown says:

    Paper ballots and a scanner are the best of both worlds
    We use them in Toronto, and the unofficial results are
    reported as soon as the polls close and the scanner prints
    out the totals. All the ballots and the scanner totals
    are retained for audit, so fraud is easily caught.

    And no-one finds a paper ballot hard to figure out!

    –dave

  13. PetFoodz.Info says:

    http://www.PetFoodz.Info – No to e-voting …
    I don’t want to see e-voting.. The tech is to early.. Many of the companies who build the machines already have sooo many problems not just with their voting but ATMs and otherwise..

  14. E-voting will likely not increase participation…
    much. Some, sure. But frankly a step that they could do that would probably increase participation a lot more is to put a “None of the Above” option on the ballot.

    Secondly, Elections Canada could actually start sending around people to register voters, in particular in rural areas. I realize that you can do it via your taxes… I do and still don’t get on the list. Why? Because Elections Canada silently rejects PO Boxes and Rural Routes as an address. In the last election I never received the information on WHERE to vote so I could show up and register at the poll. In one Ontario election the web site sent me to the wrong poll.

  15. Disillusioned says:

    Assumptions of e-voting
    First thing that immediately came to mind for me was; make it easier and more convenient for people and we might have a more realistic electoral outcome due to the much improved voter turnout.
    Secondly, if you have to physically go to the poling station, what is the point of instituting anything other than what is presently used, just an exorbitant additional cost would be incurred.

    Why not use the phone system?
    Elections Canada could mail out a sealed voter card to your known address which would include a P.I.N. number. Options would be to attend the poling station listed, or let your fingers to the talking. With today’s technology, telephone voting could only occur from the phone number listed to your name and address as supplied by you to elections Canada, and could also require you to enter your S.I.N. along with the P.I.N. I think this would be adequately secure. This is similar to the on line E-pass system with the government services Canada website.

  16. Maynard G. Krebs says:

    No e-voting system is both anonymous & secure
    Your vote needs to be secret in a free society. There is no way to absolutely guarantee that with a fully electronic e-voting system.

    A paper ballot is as secure as it gets when the counting is properly scrutineered.

    A paper ballot is auditable and challengeable – an electronic vote is not.

    A paper ballot can be recounted with virtually 100% accuracy (hanging chads notwithstanding) – an electronic vote cannot be recounted with the same certainty.

    Raise everyone’s tax rate by an amount which will increase their taxes by $200. This money goes into a segregated account managed by the Bank of Canada and invested in Canada T-bills (that way the government can’t treat it like a slush fund).

    When you vote and have your name crossed off the voter’s list, you get a CRA voucher in the mail with your name on it to include with your income tax filing which gives you a tax credit of $210 times the number of tax years since the last federal election (yes, it’s more to compensate for the fact that the government has been hanging onto the money for several years – and they make that ‘interest’ non-taxable). So if it’s 4 years since the last election, you get a voucher for $210 * 4 = $840 for showing up. Those who don’t vote don’t get the credit. The government coughs up any shortfall in the voting credit fund from general revenues.

  17. C46 and C47
    wouldn’t C46 and C47 with this push, make the idea of anonymous voting a thing of the past?

    If you vote online, you would have no expectation of privacy, as Elections Canada would have your IP Address, and how you voted; your provider would have your Name and Address. Both of these would completely erode the democratic rights of the Canadian Population.

  18. Re: No e-voting
    The problem with having a rebate like you suggest is that it “punishes” (not the correct term, but the best one that comes to mind right now) people who make a conscious decision to use not voting as a means of saying none of the above.

    While the idea is a good one, it has to be part of a electoral reform package which would incorporate the ability for people to vote non of the above, as well as potentially proportional representation. Otherwise you’ll get many ballots put in the box that have none, or multiple candidates checked.

    With e-voting, presumably you wouldn’t be allowed to submit the ballot unless you select one, and only one, candidate. If it did, that would encourage people not to vote as it removes that as an option for none of the above.

  19. Dwight Williams says:

    A Note to William
    I’d argue that we need both more voters actively participating in the elections, and that they be better informed as well. But that’s possibly an issue for another forum.

  20. info sent across borders
    As a IT professional, I know the inherent issues with security and e-voting. Besides being susceptible to interception (man in the middle attacks etc) there is also the additional problem of voter results being sent across Canada’s borders. In the latest Markham e-voting initiative – the results were sent to a US based server IP.

    I don’t like the idea of a US based company having access to my vote and my IP address.

    There have been no publicly released security audits of any of these proposed systems.

    Here’s a list of all MP’s in Canada. Take the time any find yours to send an email message. http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E

  21. Student
    These comments are all from a few years ago. I am doing research from a project and e-voting does in fact increase voter turn-out and their is evidence to support that some systems in fact are able to evade hacking that causes for rigged voting. People are just afraid of change. No matter who gets in, there will always be accusations of rigged voting, with or without new online voting technologies. We live in a digital age, get with the times people. No one like waiting in line, that why shopping, banking, practically EVERYTHING I can do online, and let me tell you, I get much more done in a day then if I were to drive/walk everywhere and then have to wait in line. I think technology needs to be embraced