A year-long study by the Independent Panel on Internet Voting has concluded the province of British Columbia and its municipalities are ready for online voting. The panel was formed in August 2012 by the chief electoral officer at the behest of the B.C. attorney general and met 13 times between September 2012 and October 2013 to examine pros and cons of Internet-based voting. The panel’s findings, released in a report earlier this month, said potential benefits of online voting include providing greater accessibility and convenience for B.C. voters, especially for people with disabilities, and the possibility of improving voter turnout, but the report also mentioned inherent security risks in spite of the fact that Internet transactions for banking, shopping, and government services are widespread and growing.
The report also cited concerns over security at the voter’s device, such as a computer or smart phone, reduced transparency and ability to audit compared to traditional voting methods.
The panel recommended not implementing universal online voting for provincial or local elections just yet, but if it is implemented it should be limited to voters who have specific accessibility challenges.