With the 2015 UK general election approaching and the increasingly digital nature of society, electronic voting is once again being promoted as the next stage in the evolution of democracy. But despite the ease and cost-saving opportunities, security questions remain. In a speech to the University College London Constitution Unit in March 2014, Jenny Watson, chair of the election watchdog the Electoral Commission, revealed the commission was examining a range of ways to make voting more accessible, including “radical options such as e-voting”. … The UK is not the only country to conduct research into electronic voting. In 2005, The Pentagon in America decided to drop their proposed online voting system which would have allowed overseas military personnel the opportunity to vote in the elections later that year. The reason cited by the deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz was the inability to ensure the legitimacy of votes. Despite this, the US government continues to employ touchscreen voting machines in their elections.
… Another of the arguments for using electronic voting machines is they remove the need for printed paper ballots. However, Kitcat discovered during the UK pilots that were run until 2007, in Sheffield it cost £1 per paper vote and £70 per electronic vote. “Electronic voting is a difficult tool to produce,” explains Kitcat. “You have an immovable deadline which is very high risk, with very high security requirements and a lot of people trying to use it simultaneously.”
No system is ever 100% secure, and this is just as true with electronic voting machines. Just as a computer or laptop is susceptible to attacks from malicious software and viruses, so too are electronic voting machines. These can range from insider or outsider attacks, to widespread viruses on the client software.
Professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge computer laboratory Ross Anderson says when political power is about to change the stakes are very high, which could lead to issues. “The fundamental problem is you can have subversion of the technical mechanism, subversion of the organisation that does the vote tabulation and announces the result, or you can have coercion of individual voters,” he says.
Full Article: Tick or click: Why electronic voting is unlikely in 2015.