Provincial and municipal governments should not implement Internet voting until a technical committee can study potential online systems and test security concerns, a panel formed by B.C.’s chief electoral officer recommended Wednesday. The recommendations were submitted to the legislature by the Independent Panel on Internet Voting, which stated in its report that the current risks of implementing Internet voting in the province outweigh the benefits. “The panel recommends to go slow on Internet voting in British Columbia,” Keith Archer, the chief electoral officer said in a news release. “British Columbians must have confidence that their voting system is fair and trustworthy.” The panel states that those who administer elections don’t have the technical expertise to evaluate voting systems, so the committee which would study the systems should include experts in Internet voting, cryptography and computer security.
The technical committee should be appointed by and report to the chief electoral officer and remain independent from elected officials, political parties and those who sell Internet voting technologies, the panel recommended.
If governments decide to implement Internet voting now, they should limit it to voters with specific accessibility issues, recognizing there’s a “substantial” risk to the accuracy of results, and they should take a province-wide co-ordinated approach to the practice, stated the panel.
If Internet voting is used in the future, the panel recommended governments ensure the process is readily available to all, ballots are cast anonymously and only by eligible voters, and voters can verify their ballots have been cast, it adds.