Articles about voting issues in Asia, Australia and Oceania.

South Korea: Election watchdog demonstrates ballot-counting process to dispel ‘rigging’ claims | Park Han-na/Korea Times

South Korea’s election watchdog demonstrated the ballot-counting process to the public in a mock version on Thursday, intent on debunking vote-rigging allegations raised by a lawmaker who lost his seat in the April 15 parliamentary election. The National Election Commission carried out the demonstration at its headquarters in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, setting up a hypothetical situation where 1,000 out of 4,000 eligible voters cast ballots in advance polls for four constituency candidates and 35 political parties for proportional representation. The commission’s officials disassembled electronic machines used in last month’s election and explained how they work in an effort to prove the impossibility of rigging an election. One of the machines classifies ballot papers according to the choice of candidate and counts them. Another machine assesses the validity of the votes.

Full Article: Election watchdog demonstrates ballot-counting process to dispel ‘rigging’ claims.

Indonesia: Election commission investigates data breach on over two million voters | AFP

Indonesia is probing how 2.3 million voters’ personal information was leaked online, the election commission said on Friday (May 22). The data breach, which included names, home addresses and national identification numbers, appeared to be from the 2014 election voter list, according to the General Election Commission. Agency commissioner Viryan Azis said an investigation had been launched into the source of the leak earlier this week.

Full Article: Indonesia investigates data breach on over two million voters, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.

Philippines: Comelec to push test run of mobile voting app | Leslie Ann Aquino/Manila Bulletin

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is pushing through with the plan to test run the mobile voting application for possible use in future poll exercises. Poll Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they will hold the test run as soon as it is safe to conduct it. “We have to choose countries where there are very low risk of contamination,” she said. “We have to find ways to test it without personal contact with the providers,” she added. Guanzon, Comelec – Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) commissioner-in-charge, said with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is more reason to push for mobile app voting by Filipinos overseas especially those in the United States and seafarers. The Comelec en banc had earlier approved the test run of the mobile voting application overseas for possible use in the May, 2022 polls.

Full Article: Comelec to push test run of mobile voting app » Manila Bulletin News.

South Korea: Democracy can be hacked | Kang Hyun-kyung/Korea Times

The Colorado secretary of state announced in September last year that the U.S. state would remove QR codes from ballots to prevent possible election meddling by outsiders.  “I am proud that Colorado continues to lead the nation in election cybersecurity,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a press release on Sept. 16. One of her duties is ensuring the integrity of elections. “Voters should have the utmost confidence that their vote will count. Removing QR codes from ballots will enable voters to see for themselves that their ballots are correct and helps guard against cyber meddling,” Griswold went on to say.  Once QR code-less ballots are introduced, votes will be tabulated using marked ovals on the ballot. In South Korea, QR codes have been at the center of a controversy following the April 15 National Assembly elections in which 300 lawmakers were elected and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) clinched a landslide victory. The two-dimensional bar codes were used twice over the course of the election; once on ballots for early and postal voting and again on voter-completed tabulation sheets printed from counting machines. About a month has passed since the elections but some people, still scratching their heads over the results, have raised suspicions about the tabulation.

Full Article: Democracy can be hacked.

Singapore: Political parties warned of cybersecurity threats, election interference | Eileen Yu/ZDNet

With general elections expected to be held within a year, Singapore’s political parties have been issued advisories about the threat of foreign interference and cybersecurity threats. They are urged to seek out precautionary measures to safeguard their ICT infrastructure, data, as well as online accounts. The city-state’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Cyber Security Agency, and Elections Department on Monday said there had been many reports of foreign interference over the past few years in elections overseas, including the French presidential and German federal elections in 2017 as well as the US mid-term and Italian general elections in 2018. These were attempts by foreign actors such as other countries, agencies, and individuals to assert influence over elections in a sovereign state, said the Singapore government agencies. “Singapore is not immune and we need to guard against such nefarious activity as we head towards our own General Election, which must be held by April 2021,” they said.

Full Article: Singapore warns political parties of cybersecurity threats, election interference | ZDNet.

Singapore: Political parties issued advisories on foreign interference and cyber security attacks ahead of next General Election | Linette Lai/The Straits Times

Political parties have been issued advisories on the threat of foreign interference and cyber security attacks ahead of the next general election, with the authorities urging parties to stay vigilant and take precautions to mitigate such risks. “Political parties play an important role in safeguarding the integrity of our general election,” said the Home Affairs Ministry, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and Elections Department in a joint statement on Monday (April 20). “They should enhance their understanding of the threat of foreign interference, and their cyber security posture.” Parties should also learn what they can do to protect their information technology infrastructure, online and social media accounts, and the storage and management of their data, they said. The authorities added that political parties should also monitor their platforms for suspicious activity and not re-share posts or tweets of suspicious provenance.

Full Article: Political parties issued advisories on foreign interference and cyber security attacks ahead of next GE, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.

South Korea: Lesson for America: South Korea proves you can hold a democratic election despite coronavirus | Trudy Rubin/Philadelphia Inquirer

One week after the Wisconsin primary, where voters faced long lines and confusion, South Korea showed how to hold a national election in the era of COVID-19. Standing three feet apart, wearing masks, voters had their temperatures taken before entering the polls. All were given plastic gloves, and booths were repeatedly disinfected. Early voting was permitted, and those under quarantine could vote by mail or at a special time slot after polls closed. Most impressive, beyond the sheer competence of the preelection planning, was that 66.2% of the electorate voted, the most in nearly three decades. In large part, this was a tribute to the success of President Moon Jae-in’s government in curbing COVID-19, making South Korea a global model and earning Moon a landslide win. But the vote was also a tribute to South Koreans’ commitment to democracy. They were determined that the precious right to vote would not be thwarted by a virus — or by political games.

Full Article: Lesson for America: South Korea proves you can hold a democratic election despite coronavirus | Trudy Rubin.

South Korea: Coronavirus Test Run: How to Hold an Election | Andrew Jeong and Timothy W. Martin/Wall Street Journal

South Koreans streamed into polling stations wearing face masks and plastic gloves, taking part in the world’s first major national election held during the new coronavirus pandemic. Choosing its 300-seat National Assembly, South Korea’s turnout on Wednesday, coupled with record levels of early voting last week, reached about 66% of the country’s 44 million eligible voters. That was the highest since 1992, according to the country’s National Election Commission. South Korea holds legislative elections every four years. President Moon Jae-in’s governing Democratic Party acquired a majority in the vote, giving more leeway for his goals of warming ties with North Korea and boosting economic growth through higher wages rather than from tax cuts, political analysts said. The phrase “done voting” was at one point South Korea’s top-trending item on Twitter. Voters cycled in and out with waits rarely exceeding 30 minutes. A polling site in central Seoul prepared a box of extra face masks just in case—but, by late afternoon, hadn’t given out a single one as all voters there had brought their own. With dozens of countries postponing votes in recent weeks, South Korea provides some early guidance on how elections might proceed once governments see rates of new virus infections flatten and fall.

Full Article: South Korea’s Coronavirus Test Run: How to Hold an Election - WSJ.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Personal details for the entire country of Georgia published online | Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet

The personal details for more than 4.9 million Georgians, including deceased citizens, has been published on a hacking forum over the weekend, on Saturday. Personal information such as full names, home addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, and mobile phone numbers were shared online in a 1.04 GB MDB (Microsoft Access database) file. The leaked data was spotted by the Under the Breach, a data breach monitoring and prevention service, and shared with ZDNet over the weekend. The database contained 4,934,863 records including details for millions of deceased citizens — as can be seen from the screenshot below. Georgia’s current population is estimated at 3.7 million, according to a 2019 census. It is unclear if the forum user who shared the data is the one who obtained it. The data’s source also remains a mystery. On Sunday, ZDNet initially reported this leak over as coming from Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), but in a statement on Monday, the commission denied that the data originated from its servers, as it contained information that they don’t usually collect.

Full Article: Personal details for the entire country of Georgia published online | ZDNet.

Philippines: Comelec to test mobile voting app in the Netherlands, Spain | Leslie Ann Aquino/Manila Bulletin News

Aside from San Francisco in the United States, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will also test the mobile voting application in the Netherlands and Spain for possible use in future polls. The Comelec was initially planning to conduct the test run in San Francisco, Singapore, and Middle East but decided to drop the last two due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) there. “We will be testing this mobile voting app in San Francisco (United States), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), and Spain,” Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in an interview Thursday. “During the test run we will see how fast it is and also the problems before we make a recommendation to the Senate, House of Representatives and the JCOC (Joint Oversight Congressional Committee),” she added. Guanzon believes having a mobile voting app system would be very helpful especially in situations where there is a disease outbreak or natural calamity.

Full Article: Comelec to test mobile voting app in the Netherlands, Spain » Manila Bulletin News.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): U.S. and Allies Blame Russia for Cyberattack on Republic of Georgia | David E. Sanger and Marc Santora/The New York Times

The United States and its key allies on Thursday accused Russia’s main military intelligence agency of a broad cyberattack against the republic of Georgia in October that took out websites and interrupted television broadcasts, in a coordinated effort to deter Moscow from intervening in the 2020 presidential election in the United States. The accusation, issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was particularly notable at a time when President Trump has been seeking to shift blame for interference in the 2016 election from Russia to Ukraine, a central element of his impeachment trial last month. Russian military intelligence, known as the G.R.U., was one of the agencies implicated in the cyberoperations aimed at interfering in that election and in a 2017 attack that struck major companies around the world, including Merck, Federal Express and Maersk. That attack is considered one of the most destructive and expensive in history, causing billions of dollars in damage.

Full Article: U.S. and Allies Blame Russia for Cyberattack on Republic of Georgia - The New York Times.

Taiwan: Taiwan’s Electoral System Puts the US to Shame | Dominique Reichenbach/The Diplomat

The looming 2020 U.S. presidential election will no doubt spark debate about the electoral college yet again, and the delayed and contested results from the Iowa caucus, the first test in the Democratic primary process, have already brought outrage. With that background in mind, the United States could learn a valuable lesson about improving democratic participation and voting processes from Taiwan. At 4:30 p.m. on January 11, 2020, a polling station in a first-floor classroom of Longan Elementary School in Da’an District of Taipei transformed into a paragon of democracy and civic engagement. An audience of 15 Taiwanese adults and children watched quietly as a man, on stage right in the theater of democracy, reached into a ballot box, pulled out a messy stack of pink papers and passed them one by one to a female announcer. The announcer held the first ballot high above her head and called “Number 3 Tsai Ing-wen Ticket” in a strikingly clear voice, breaking the silence of the room. A woman behind her etched a tally in Tsai’s column on the official tracking sheet, marking the beginning of the election count.

Full Article: Taiwan’s Electoral System Puts the US to Shame – The Diplomat.

India: What India can learn from the clamour for paper ballots in the US | Mala Jay/National Herald

The United States, the world’s most developed nation, is having serious problems with its electronic voting system that India cannot afford to ignore. The last few days have been so traumatic in the state of Iowa that it has triggered demands for a total manual recount and for a return to the “good old paper ballot”. Just three headlines in influential newspapers convey the message.  One says: “Don’t entrust Democracy to the Techies”. The other says: “The Iowa election fiasco proved one thing:  over-reliance on electronic machines in the election process makes Democracy more opaque”. The third was a plaintive cry:  “Please let’s go back to paper voting”. What happened during counting of votes in Iowa on Monday can be summed up in three words – Spectacular Software Glitch. Just like what the Election Commission of India keeps repeating, those in charge of the primary election in the State of Iowa had claimed that the electronic voting system was “fail-safe” and “tamper-proof”. But some of America’s leading politicians – like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all of whom are feverishly trying to win the nomination to become the Democratic Party candidate against Donald Trump in the US presidential election in November – were stunned when the results of Monday’s election caucus were withheld because a computer application crashed.

Full Article: What India can learn from the clamour for paper ballots in the US .

Philippines: Comelec to test 4 suppliers’ mobile app voting system | Philippine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is seriously looking into activating a mobile app voting system in the May 2022 elections, with four suppliers ready to showcase their computer program’s capability. Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who is pushing for these new modes of casting votes in the national and local elections, over the weekend said it pays to see what new technologies in the market can offer. “Four suppliers of mobile app voting program/system offered to conduct a test run for the Comelec,” Guanzon posted on Twitter. She declined to provide other details on the proposed system, saying it is still premature, but assured the public of transparency when this mobile app enabling Filipinos to vote electronically is tested.

Full Article: Comelec to test 4 suppliers’ mobile app voting system |

Japan: Push to spread e-voting may mean allowing use of off-the-shelf tablets | The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry aims to allow the use of commercially available tablets and personal computers for electronic voting in local elections. E-voting became possible in 2002 and 10 local governments and assemblies have since implemented the voting method. But e-voting has not been used since 2016. To encourage the implementation of more electronic voting, the ministry plans to review the current guidelines that effectively limit devices to those specialized for e-voting. As mistakes in local elections have been rapidly increasing nationwide, the ministry believes that e-voting can be effective for preventing mistakes in vote counting. During fiscal 2020, the ministry aims to improve the circumstances to make it possible for local governments and assemblies to resume the implementation of e-voting. The guidelines stipulate criteria on devices used for vote counting in elections in which e-voting is implemented. It effectively only allows the use of electronic devices specialized for e-voting because of durability and measures to prevent fraudulent voting. However, compared with devices that were available in 2002, the performance of commercially available electronic devices has remarkably improved and there are now more lower-priced models.

Full Article: Push to spread e-voting may mean allowing use of off-the-shelf tablets - The Japan News.

Taiwan: How China, and the Law, Jumped in as Taiwan’s Presidential Campaign Shifted to Social Media | Ralph Jennings/VoA News

About 97% of internet users in Taiwan use Facebook. The island also has Asia’s second highest smartphone penetration after South Korea. Given these statistics, the first announced by Facebook in 2018 and the other by a market research firm, it made sense that a lot of campaigning for tomorrow’s presidential election would jump from the streets to the internet. But the rise of internet campaigning has challenged voters to know what’s true or false, and to follow a growing suite of anti-fake news laws, as politicians allege that mountains of online campaign information are untrue, illegally posted and often planted by Taiwan’s political rival China. “Beginning from last year we saw that China is using modern technology, in short it’s the social media platforms, to try to interrupt in our discussions on the internet, either through Facebook or through Twitter or even a popular online chat mechanism called Line,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told a news conference Thursday. “The fake news situation seems to be quite serious.” Last year officials passed laws that ban the spread of that information and local media say police are already investigating several cases.

Full Article: How China, and the Law, Jumped in as Taiwan’s Presidential Campaign Shifted to Social Media | Voice of America - English.

Taiwan: Why the world must pay attention to the fight against disinformation and fake news in Taiwan | Catherine Shu/TechCrunch

On Saturday, Taiwan will hold its presidential election. This year, the outcome is even more important than usual because it will signal what direction the country’s people want its relationship with China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, to move in. Also crucial are efforts against fake news. Taiwan has one of the worst disinformation problems in the world and how it is handled is an important case study for other countries. Yesterday, Twitter said in a blog post that it has held trainings for the two main political parties in Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT), and Taiwan’s Central Election Commission, in addition to setting up a portal for feedback during the election. Late last month, the state-owned Central News Agency reported that Facebook will set up a “war room” to counteract disinformation before the election, echoing its efforts in other countries (the company previously established a regional elections center at its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore).

Full Article: Why the world must pay attention to the fight against disinformation and fake news in Taiwan | TechCrunch.

Bangladesh: BNP urges Election Commission to roll back Electronic Voting Machine plan | Dhaka Tribune

BNP has urged the Election Commission to shelve its plan to use Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the upcoming elections to two Dhaka city corporations. The party said EVM is an ill-motivated government project to destroy people’s voting rights, reports UNB. “The Election Commission’s decision to use the EVMs in the polls to Dhaka south and north city corporations is part of an evil plan to implement a silent project of killing people’s voting rights by using the technology in the future election in which the government is changed,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said on Sunday. He said: “BNP thinks the decision to use the machine in Bangladesh’s election system is a serious conspiracy. We hope the Election Commission will take steps for holding the election through traditional ballot papers cancelling its decision to conduct the voting through the EVM so that people can freely exercise their right to franchise.”

Full Article: BNP urges Election Commission to roll back EVM plan | Dhaka Tribune.

Taiwan: China uses Taiwan for AI target practice to influence elections | Philip Sherwell/The Sunday Times

China has already deployed its expertise in artificial intelligence to erect a surveillance state, power its economy and develop its military. Now Taiwan’s cyber-security chiefs have identified signs that Beijing is using AI to interfere in an overseas election for the first time. In the run-up to its general and presidential elections on Saturday, Taiwan has detected what appear to be experiments with AI-generated messaging amid disinformation unleashed by Beijing and its proxies. This could presage China’s export of its Orwellian tools for manipulation and control to influence other democracies. If Chinese programmers can teach intelligent machines to mimic the language of voters — learning idioms, slang and mindsets via elaborate algorithms — it will be a game-changer, spreading fake news and disinformation through anonymous social media accounts at viral speeds. “We believe we are seeing China testing the use of artificial intelligence for the first time in their influence operations in this election,” said Tzeng Yi-suo, director of the cyber-warfare division at Taiwan’s Institute for National Defence and Security Research.

Full Article: China uses Taiwan for AI target practice to influence elections.

Bangladesh: BNP opposes electronic voting, cites risks of rigging |

Election results generated by electronic voting machines (EVM) are never acceptable, BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said at a media briefing on Sunday. “It’s a matter of great concern that the Election Commission has become active to serve the government’s interest again. It created an unprecedented history with the last national election,” said Rizvi citing allegations of rigging. Rizvi accused the EC of helping the government rig the election through the use of electronic devices. “We call upon the EC to cancel the use of EVMs and initiate an election acceptable to all.” EVMs are not a transparent voting system which never serves democracy, said Rizvi citing some research. EVMs can be ‘tampered’ with, he said. “The results generated by these machines cannot be trusted.”

Full Article: BNP opposes e-voting, cites risks of rigging -