Elections BC is seeking permission to run pilot projects on online voting and other new technologies. It is generally known that voters are becoming increasingly alienated from politics. It is nevertheless ludicrous for Elections BC to attribute some of this apathy to outdated technology at the polling stations, or to imply that measures like online voting would somehow revive democracy.
A greater source of voter dissatisfaction is a creeping loss of faith in the system. An effective step in restoring that faith would be the evidence that the process is valued, cherished and, most importantly, safeguarded from ways in which it can be subverted.
We must regard with suspicion any attempt to introduce an opaque element into the electoral process, under any guise and for any reason. If the element consists of computerized hardware and software, particularly of a “proprietary” nature, then it is no longer a matter of simple suspicion. That proposal is to be rejected out of hand, as it introduces the possibility of elections being stolen at the stroke of a key, either by a hacker or, more ominously, by someone within the very organization that provides the digital facilities.
These objections are not based on aversion to technology. I use computer technology regularly, and I find it useful and convenient in many aspects of everyday life. But elections are not everyday life. Because of what they represent in human affairs, we, the electors, must retain control of the process at all phases. Please write to your MLA demanding that all electronic aids be kept out of the polling booth.