The task force on voting rights of overseas Pakistanis in its report pointed out various shortcomings in the proposed system of internet-based voting, reducing the chances of its use in the near future. The report of the task force, constituted in April this year, was made public on Monday. It said online voting systems, even in the developed world, catered to relatively small number of voters – a mere 70,090 online votes were cast in the Norwegian elections in 2013, 176,491 in the 2015 elections in Estonia, and around 280,000 votes in the state election in New South Wales, Australia. It also said that leading international cybersecurity professionals have repeatedly voiced serious concerns regarding the security of internet voting.
“Researchers discovered vulnerabilities and launched devastating attacks on such systems (including those deployed in the US, Estonia, and Australia) that impacted tens of thousands of votes,” the report pointed out. Such demonstrations have played a determining role in discouraging deployment of internet voting in several developed countries.
In contrast, iVOTE, if deployed in Pakistan, will cater to over six million overseas voters, and will be the largest-ever deployment of internet voting in the world by far.
“In case of the aforementioned examples, the risk of system failure or mishap has been restricted to relatively small populations and geographical regions. However, in our case, failure or electoral rigging overseas is not confined to a few seats and can potentially impact each and every constituency in Pakistan, thereby playing a critical role in the formation and composition of the next government,” reads the report.