Chief electoral officer Keith Archer has announced the formation of a panel of experts to investigate whether British Columbia should adopt Internet voting. Let’s hope the panel focuses on the big picture before getting bogged down with technical details. Our democracy is built on the assurance of a secret ballot and the principle that one person gets only one vote. Under the current voting system, a voter casts his or her vote in the view of polling officials who ensure the voter is alone while marking the ballot — free of coercion. By contrast, any system that allows voters to fill out their ballot outside the supervision of officials cannot be truly secret. There are no safeguards to prevent someone looking over your shoulder while you vote on a smartphone. There’s no App for that. When you mark your paper ballot and place it in the ballot box, a magical thing happens; the ballot mixes with other ballots and you cease to have a copy. No one involved in the election process can connect you to your vote and you can’t prove how you voted.
Because we bank online it seems logical we should be able to vote online. We think a bank transaction is “secret,” but this could not be further from the truth. Your bank retains meticulous records of your transactions. Auditors, bank employees and tax authorities can all look at the details of your transaction. E-commerce systems are not built on trust; they are built on audit trails.
Voters will not tolerate a voting system with an audit trail that links the voter to a preference or allows a voter to show a copy of the transaction to a third party who might pay for the vote. An electronic voting system, lacking a physical piece of paper inside a ballot box and an audit trail, forces us to blindly trust the technical wizards who operate the system. This leaves us vulnerable to an insider accessing the servers and tampering with results. With no audit trail, we could not prove the election had been rigged.
Full Article: Internet voting is an idea whose time has not come.