Electronic voting is widely regarded as insecure and might not do much to help improve voter turnout, a new study suggests. The study published by Auckland University of Technology said online voting was “superficially attractive” but international evidence suggested it was not a silver bullet for reversing declining voter turnout. A trial of electronic voting planned for next year’s local council elections was scrapped by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) on Wednesday. But it is “never say die” for the trial’s backers who hope to have another crack in 2022 despite strong criticism of the idea from many technology experts. LGNZ shelved its trial planned for nine council elections on cost grounds, rather than because of security concerns. It said it had found an unnamed vendor that satisfied all of its security and delivery requirements, but could not justify the $4.2 million cost of the trial. … The Auckland University of Technology study twists the knife, however.
Despite LGNZ’s claim to have found a “secure” system, the study noted that “most IT security experts believe online voting cannot be secure”.
Elections in Switzerland and Belgium suggested online voting could have a “novelty effect” that gave a short-term boost to voter turnout, author Julienne Molineaux, head of the university’s policy observatory, said.
But evidence of a wider impact on voter turnout was “inconsistent”, she said.
“There is no increase in youth turnout when online voting is adopted” and young people did not appear to prefer online voting over a paper ballot, when given the choice, the study found.