Friday, January 14, 2005

Council of Europe e-voting recommendation

Falling participation rates in elections and referenda and the perception that many citizens are losing interest in politics are concerns common to many Council of Europe member states.

Some member states are already experimenting with e-voting, or electronically enabled voting as it is also known, in the hope that modernising their electoral methods and allowing voters to cast their vote via electronic voting machines or even from their PCs will increase participation as well as providing a quicker and more cost effective means of organising public consultations.

But if e-voting has the potential to bring about many benefits, it also carries with it certain risks. How to ensure the security and secrecy of the vote in this new environment? How to ensure that e-voting is accessible to all?

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, entrusted the Multidisciplinary Ad Hoc Group of Specialists on legal, operational and technical standards for e-enabled voting (IP1-S-EE) with the task of developing a set of standards which could be used as a reference by member states considering the introduction of e-voting programmes. The Integrated Project “Making democratic institutions work” provided the Secretariat for this group.

These standards are set out in Recommendation Rec(2004)11 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting, which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 30 September 2004 at the 898th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies

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