United Kingdom

Articles about voting issues in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

United Kingdom: Online voter registration to be introduced in Northern Ireland | Belfast Telegraph

From the 18th June people in Northern Ireland will be able to register to vote online. The new service is being introduced by the Electoral Office to make the registration process easier for the public. … Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill welcomed the news. “Online registration was introduced in Britain a number of years ago and it is Sinn Féin’s view there was an unjustifiable delay in extending it to the north. I want to commend the efforts of Francie Molloy MP and Colm Gildernew MLA in lobbying to end the delay in rolling out the scheme in the north.” Read More

United Kingdom: US elections are under threat from cyberattacks — and so are yours | Matt Rhoades/Politico.eu

When we talk about the integrity of elections, we tend to think about voter registration, transparency of donations, or the secrecy of our ballots. But on both sides of the Atlantic, the most disturbing new threat is the specter of cyberattacks against our campaign infrastructure. Whether in the wake of the U.K.’s EU referendum in June 2016, the U.S. presidential election that November, or the 2017 British general election, newspapers have been filled with endless speculation about foreign governments attempting to influence the outcome of elections. Unfortunately, much of the debate on the topic has become a partisan political tool used by both sides to make accusations against each other — creating chaos, just as cyberattacks are intended to do. What is deadly serious is the prospect of a malicious actor — who could be a foreign government, domestic extremist group or a single individual — acting to degrade the integrity of elections in the U.K. Read More

United Kingdom: Angus councillor warns voting machines a “disaster waiting to happen” | The Courier

Angus Council’s second youngest elected member has warned Scottish Government proposals to introduce electronic voting machines at future elections are “a disaster waiting to happen”. Councillor Braden Davy, the Conservative member for Forfar and District, dismissed the suggestion of replacing the “tried and trusted” way of voting with an electronic ballot as “costly voting gimmicks” when he addressed members of the local authority’s policy and resource committee in Forfar. Councillors discussed the Scottish Government’s consultation on electoral reform which asked for feedback on plans for voting machines and internet voting alongside other reforms. Read More

United Kingdom: Sturgeon pressed to allow prisoners to vote in Scottish elections | The Guardian

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to allow all Scottish prison inmates to vote in the country’s elections by a majority of MSPs on Holyrood’s equalities committee. The committee said allowing prisoners to vote went to the heart of questions about a citizen’s responsibilities and the purpose of prison to rehabilitate offenders. Its conclusions, which were resisted by two Conservative MSPs but backed by its Scottish National party, Labour and Liberal Democrat members, will be seen a challenge to the first minister’s emphasis on her party’s progressive ideals. Read More

United Kingdom: Anger and confusion as voters turned away during ID trial | The Guardian

A trial of voter ID has seen people in England turned away from polling booths for the first time for not carrying the necessary documents, with other issues reported including abuse of voting staff and some confusion over what evidence needed to be shown. The local elections saw the scheme tested out in five boroughs in an attempt to crack down on voter impersonation, with the possibility it could be extended nationwide in future elections. The main issues appeared to be in Bromley and Woking where, along with Gosport, people had to show one piece of photo ID or two from a list of other documents. In the other two test areas, Swindon and Watford, only a polling card was required. In Bromley, south-east London, tallies by the opposition Labour group found at least 13 people turned away from just one ward, Crystal Palace. There were also reports of some voters being angry and abusive to polling station workers when asked to show ID. Read More

United Kingdom: Polling station voter ID plans are deeply flawed, say critics | The Guardian

Plans requiring voters to prove their identity before casting their ballot are deeply flawed, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has said. The group said it appeared the plans were a “calculated effort by the government to make voting harder for some citizens”. Pilot schemes will be in place at Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking councils in the local elections in England on 3 May. The ERS said personification fraud, in which someone votes while pretending to be someone else, is “incredibly rare” and the introduction of mandatory voter ID poses more problems than solutions. The ERS chief executive, Darren Hughes, said: “It’s hard not to see this as a calculated effort by the government to make voting harder for some citizens. “As such it’s vital we think about the risks these changes pose to a free and fair franchise in the UK. We need policy based on hard facts, not rumour and innuendo. Read More

United Kingdom: Tories in new race row over identity checks for elections | The Guardian

Government plans that will force people to prove their identities at polling stations in May’s local elections risk disenfranchising members of ethnic minority communities, according to a leaked letter to ministers from the equality and human rights watchdog. In a move that will fuel controversy over the treatment of migrants in the UK following the Windrush scandal, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to the Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, raising its serious concern that the checks will deter immigrants and others from participating in the democratic process. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the plan for compulsory checks was more evidence of the kind of “hostile environment” that Theresa May’s government wanted to create for people who had come to settle in Britain. In a speech on Sunday, Corbyn will claim that Theresa May’s determination to cut immigration at all costs was responsible for the Windrush scandal. He will say: “British citizens who came to our country to rebuild it after the war have faced deportation because they couldn’t clear the deliberately unreachable bar set by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants.” Read More

United Kingdom: Scottish Government Gives Go-Ahead For Internet Voting Pilot | Digit

In response to a letter organised by Webroots Democracy and co-signed by 30 leading academics and charity bosses, Minister for Parliamentary Business Joe Fitzpatrick MSP has reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the trialling of an electronic voting system. The government outlined its commitment to improving its online services as part of the Digital Strategy for Scotland, this trial is part of that mission statement. … Scottish director of Open Rights GroupMatthew Rice said: “We have got to think what would happen if a foreign actor was interested in the outcome of our elections. It [electronic voting] always introduces security risks. We are saying that it should not be rolled out.” Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo told DIGIT: “We are deeply concerned about the e-voting trials in Scotland. It is vital in a democracy that elections are free and fair. But computerised rather than human ballot counting undermines transparency and risks serious security breaches.” Read More

United Kingdom: Internet voting systems could replace paper ballots in Scotland | The Scotsman

Just like their Victorian ancestors, they are asked to mark an X on a ballot paper next to their chosen candidate. But all that could be about to change – in Scotland, at least. The Scottish Government’s consultation on electoral reform closed this week and ministers will soon begin scrutinising responses from across the country. It plans to trial “innovative” electronic voting which would mean votes could be cast on electronic machines within traditional polling stations – using systems “similar to ticket machines at railway stations or supermarket automated checkouts”. More boldly, votes could also be cast remotely via home computers or mobile devices.  … But electoral reform is a sensitive subject. Public confidence in the system is vital. Previous efforts to try and streamline the process and increase turnout have not always worked. Read More

United Kingdom: A Cambridge Analytica Whistle-blower Claims That “Cheating” Swung the Brexit Vote | The New Yorker

Christopher Wylie—the twenty-eight-year-old whistle-blower who has detailed how Cambridge Analytica, the controversial political-consulting firm, harvested personal data from as many as fifty million Facebook users—appeared before a committee of British M.P.s on Tuesday. During Wylie’s almost four hours of testimony, he rejected the various dodges, equivocations, and denials that his former employer has made about its use of Facebook data. “It is categorically untrue, categorically untrue, that Cambridge Analytica has never used Facebook data,” Wylie said. “Facebook’s data, and the acquisition using Aleksandr Kogan’s app, was the foundational data of the company. That is how the algorithms were developed. They spent a million dollars, at least, on that acquisition project.” Read More