Sunday, 10 December 2006

Remote eVoting

I think I'l start my reponses to Jason Kitcats monster post about me with the low hanging fruit, that being the issues of voter coercion and selling in remote voting.

Note the use of the phrase remote voting rather than eVoting (I'll get to that at the end).

Jason is correct that the destruction of the initial voter credentials allows the attacker to prevent a second vote from being cast that overrides the corrupted vote. However, it does not prevent the voter from being issued with new credentials and using these to cast a tendered ballot. The length of time that eVoting channels are open will typically allow a voter to be able to be issued with these credentials via the post, but it would also be possible for them to be issued in person at the electoral office of their Local Authority if they wished it. The voter then casts another vote, that would override the corrupted vote.

Now I need to make an apology, I incorrectly asserted that Jason was opposed to postal voting. Turns out I was wrong! He is opposed to all postal votes, but then I'm also in favour of allowing voters to choose which voting channel they use, this modernisation process is, after all, all about choice for the electorate.

However... could someone please explain how postal voting is free from the problems of voter coercion and vote selling? Surely these problems are present for all forms of remote voting, and confining the discussion of them to just eVoting seems at best selective and at worst downright deceitful. If a magic bullet solution exists for postal voting then surely it could also be applied to eVoting? If there is a solution, and it's not been mentioned that's even worse, as it implies a deliberate attempt to discredit eVoting when solutions to problems are available.

I'll be interested to hear the answer to this one.

Next response coming soon, when somone adds an extra 4 hours to the day!