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.
… There is also some opposition to the concept of electronic voting. Craig Dalzell, head of research at the Common Weal think tank, described it as “inherently insecure”. “There has been a temptation in recent years to try to “modernise” the voting system to cut costs and to make voting more appealing to younger citizens,” he said.
“One method often toyed with is electronic voting in some form or another. However, many forms of electronic voting have shown themselves to be vulnerable to fraud or hacking in ways that paper voting is currently inherently secure against. A networked electronic voting system may be completely compromised by hackers.
“There is potential for electronic assisted voting to make voting easier and to reduce accidentally spoiled or miscast ballots but this must be coupled with hardcopy verification to prevent electronic voting fraud.”