Adopting electronic voting systems could leave British elections vulnerable to cyber attack by other countries, the former head of MI6 has said. Sir John Sawers said traditional pencil and paper approaches to voting were “actually much more secure” – following allegations that the recent US presidential election was subject to hacking. “The more things that go online, the more susceptible you are to cyber attacks,” Sir John, who stepped down in 2014, said. “We need to have systems which are robust,” he said in an interview for the BBC documentary The New World: Axis of Power. “The only trouble is, the younger generation of people expect to be able to do things remotely and through electronic devices. “Bizarrely the stubby pencil and piece of paper that you put your cross on in the ballot box is actually much more secure than anything which is electronic.”
The Electoral Commission has called for “radical changes” to the voting system while the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said secure online voting should be an option for all voters by the 2020 general election.
A 2014 report by the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee called for pilots on online voting to be conducting during this Parliament.