Friday, September 10, 2004
"Access, Integrity and Participation: Towards Responsive Electoral Processes for Ontario" (September 2004)
(Thanks to Bob Bailie for pointing out this report.)
UPDATE 2004-09-12: Mr. Bailie has also pointed me to two Elections Ontario RFQs for electronic voting technology.
I have tried to restrain my comments, not always with success.
There are, however, some areas that could be considered for legislative action; for example: ...
• Permitting different voting access channels and special voting rules, including secure automated processes, and
• Providing for the Chief Election Officer to be able to adopt flexible approaches to elections, including timing adjusted to permit automation.
Secure automated processes?
THERE ARE NO SECURE AUTOMATED PROCESSES.
Slide 41 (page 43)
Automation. The election world is headed toward voting systems that create access opportunities for all electors, without labels and without barriers.
many other electors, including those without disabilities, are also seeking innovative approaches to their voting access requirements.
As a tool of 21st-century administration, automated processes can offer increased speed, improved accuracy, greater efficiency and consistency. As a channel for service delivery, automation provides a range of opportunity for innovation in areas that could not be addressed with traditional, manual systems. Looking forward, there may soon come a point where the lack of automation becomes a barrier as a web-enabled generation comprises the majority of the electorate.
A recent legislative amendment has acknowledged the need to anticipate change. Under Section 4.1 of the Election Act, the CEO now has the authority to propose alternative approaches to voting processes for by-elections. While this statutory authority has offered some opportunities to test innovation, by-elections are unpredictable events and the new processes that can be effectively developed and implemented on short notice are limited in scope.
As we look across the world, election administrators are evaluating various technologies as possible contributors to electoral service improvements. Well-planned pilot projects in the United Kingdom over the past three years have explored a range of voting automation that includes interactive digital television, e-voting kiosks and cellular text messaging, in addition to more simple solutions such as vote-by-mail and telephone and Internet voting.
If you think Internet voting is a "simple solution" then you have no understanding whatsoever of the technical, political and societal issues involved.
THERE IS NO SECURE INTERNET VOTING.
IT IS NOT TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE IN TERMS OF PROCEDURE.
If your ballot is not cast in public, I can put a gun to your head and make you vote the way I want.
If your ballot is not cast on paper, I can put a program on your computer and make you vote the way I want.
One consistent theme emerges from the reports and analyses: automation covers a much wider range of options than just Internet voting and should not be introduced without undertaking significant and in-depth study.
That is the understatement of the "21st Century".
Ontario’s electors are not averse to automation. They appear to be ready to embrace technologies such as the telephone and the Internet as tools to help them obtain information and possibly to register as an elector. This view is not as strongly held when it comes to electronic remote voting.
One reason people are not interested is because "electronic remote voting" can very easily become electronic remote vote stealing and manipulation.
Our society places few obligations upon its citizens. Going out in public every few years to cast a secret ballot is not a particularly onerous duty.
Slide 47. Page 49.
Any new approach to electoral governance through a reform of the legislation must continue to honour the CEO’s four basic pillars:
• To guarantee the fairness of elections for all participants
• To ensure that all electors have access to a secret ballot
• To ensure that administrative activity enhances the transparency of electoral processes, and
• To achieve maximum accessibility for citizen voters, candidates and citizen monitors.
You CANNOT have a secret ballot and a transparent process if you use Internet or electronic voting. Therefore, these should be excluded. QED.