Alberta is considering instituting online voting for elections, possibly as soon as 2013. New legislation is introduced last week allows for new technology in by-elections.
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The Chronicle Herald reports that Elections Canada is promoting the use of e-voting, which it believes could increase voter participation.
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version ) discusses the upcoming municipal elections in Ontario and the growing use of electronic voting machines and Internet voting. For example, several Ontario municipalities, including Markham and Peterborough, now offer Internet-based voting, enabling local residents to vote without leaving their homes. Closer examination of electronic and Internet voting reveals some significant dangers that should not be overlooked, however.
Democracy depends upon a fair, accurate, and transparent electoral process with outcomes that can be independently verified. Conventional voting accomplishes many of these goals – private polling stations enable citizens to cast their votes anonymously, election day scrutineers offer independent oversight, and paper-based ballots provide a verifiable outcome that can be re-counted if necessary.
While technology may someday allow us to replicate these essential features online, many of them are currently absent from Internet voting, which is subject to any number of possible disruptions, including denial of service attacks that shut down the election process, hacks into the election system, or the insertion of computer viruses that tamper with election results.
Electronic voting machines are similarly prone to error.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on October 23, 2006 as Vote Against Online Voting Communities across Ontario head to the polls next month in municipal elections that determine mayors, city councilors, school trusties, and a host of other local government positions. If history is any guide, turnout will be very […]