Benny Tai Yiu-ting of Occupy Central fame is set to relaunch a mock nomination and election of the chief executive. The so-called civil referendum uses a mobile app and a website to encourage people to nominate and vote for “candidates”. Critics including the privacy commissioner have expressed alarm. Tai’s previous ThunderGo mobile app debacle was accused by even some pan-democratic candidates in the last Legislative Council election of distorting the voting outcomes by favouring extremist candidates over more mainstream ones. Hong Kong’s unofficial chief executive election opinion poll PopVote back online next week
Washington state voters overseas can email their ballots to a county auditor. A bill in the legislature would expand that privilege to the rest of the state. But at a hearing Friday, lawmakers heard strong opposition to the proposed legislation. Josh Benaloh, a cryptology expert, believes there is a future for voting online. But he called this bill dangerous. “Things do go bad on the internet. And the real issue is about the ability to review and correct problems,” Benaloh said. “If my vote is altered on the way to an election office, I will likely never know about it.”
Blockchain technology can safely be used to authenticate e-voting by shareholders at a company’s annual general meeting, Nasdaq said this week, following a pilot project in Estonia. … Voting security experts in the U.S. were skeptical about the pilot project’s wider applicability, especially with regard to national elections. “Blockchain solves a small part of the overall set of problems [with e-voting], but nowhere near all,” said Pamela Smith, president of election integrity advocacy group Verified Voting. “If you have a boat with many leaks, plugging one of them should not make you assume the others won’t swamp you,” she told CyberScoop via email.
Since the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) tabled its report in December, the national conversation has largely focused on potential changes to the electoral system. One of the committee’s more significant recommendations related to the future of online voting in Canada, however, has flown under the radar. The committee recommended that Elections Canada not adopt online voting at this time, but work with stakeholders to determine how election technologies can maintain electoral integrity and voter access, notably for persons with disabilities. This should not be dismissed as an insignificant recommendation as it has the potential to influence the modernization of voting in federal elections in Canada. While Elections Canada could certainly start work on this, development of online voting approaches in other jurisdictions has shown that working with experts – social and computer scientists – is a best practice. In Geneva, Switzerland, for example, the decision to leverage expert knowledge substantially improved the design of the online voting system.
United Kingdom: Online voting could leave British elections vulnerable to hacking, former MI6 head warns | The Independent
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.”
Reporters without Borders has condemned a Swiss court’s decision to convict a journalist of electoral fraud after he voted twice in order to prove failures in the system. Joël Boissard, who works for Swiss broadcaster RTS, was fined, ordered to pay court costs and given a further suspended fine after being found guilty in early November, according to news agencies. The incident occurred last year when Boissard, who had recently moved house, received two sets of voting documents for federal and cantonal elections on March 8th 2015. Assuming the online system would prevent him from voting twice, he tried to do so – and succeeded. Boissard immediately contacted the electoral authorities to report what he had done and ask them to explain the anomaly, he told news agencies.
A Swiss television journalist is to appeal a conviction for electoral fraud after demonstrating for a news report that it was possible to vote twice electronically on a single issue. He was able to do this in March 2015 having been mistakenly sent two sets of voting forms following a change of address. He alerted the authorities to the issue, but three weeks later was indicted by Geneva prosecutors. In early November, he was sentenced by a Bern court to a two-day suspended prison sentence and a fine of CHF400 after exposing the e-voting system’s shortcomings. His journalistic research was found by the court to be no defence against the crime.
Waterloo council will stick with tradition and use paper ballots and the first-past-the-post system for the 2018 municipal election. Politicians voted Monday not to pursue online voting or use ranked ballots. “Voting shouldn’t necessarily be that simple,” Coun. Brian Bourke said. “It shouldn’t just be the click of a button.” Region of Waterloo Coun. Jane Mitchell appealed against Internet voting, citing concerns about confidentiality. “The secret ballot will always be a problem,” she said. She said polling locations are the most reliable way to keep ballots secret, the “old school” way. Resident Dave Shuffling said he has about eight years of experience in the computer security industry. He outlined a long list of possible threats to the integrity of online voting and asked council not to proceed with online voting. “Security is really difficult to get right,” Shuffling said. A previous council voted against using online voting to conduct the last municipal election but staff told council in January they wanted to have another look at the idea.
The Turnbull government’s new Cyber Ambassador, Tobias Feakin, has warned of the risks of e-voting after allegations Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails may have influenced the US election outcome. The comments may further slow moves towards a change, after Labor turned on the idea in its submissions to a joint parliamentary inquiry into the federal election, saying the online census outage was cause to proceed with caution. In the days after the Australian federal election, both Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten called for the introduction of electronic voting, saying in 2016 it should not take more than eight days to find out a result. … E-voting expert University of Melbourne’s Vanessa Teague has previously said instead of at-home e-voting via personal devices, which could be unsafe, she would instead advocate a change to e-voting via computers at polling places.
Every four years, America elects a president. And every four years around election time, Kim Alexander gets annoyed by the same question: Why can’t we vote over the internet yet? “I hate the question,” says Alexander, founder of the California Voter Foundation. Voting over the internet isn’t a priority for CVF, and won’t be for the foreseeable future. You would think an organization dedicated to “the responsible use of technology to improve the democratic process” would be for using the internet to make voting easier. Alexander did, too, once, back in the mid-’90s, shortly after she established CVF and the internet first entered the public consciousness. “But then I started to learn what about it takes to run secure elections, and how vulnerable the internet is,” Alexander says. “This internet is not a safe place to cast ballots.”