Time for electronic voting?

Jai Hogben, Procurement Director at The Change Organisation writes: –

With the general election close to the finishing post, isn’t it about time that we ditched a voting system that involves more than 30 million trudging down to the local polling centre to write a cross on piece of paper using a pencil attached to a string?

Our right to vote is part of our democratic freedom but when you consider that the 2014 local elections had a depressingly poor voter turnout of 36% then perhaps the issue is not the candidates but the fact that our antiquated voting system needs a rethink.  This is especially relevant with younger voters who in the last general election had a turnout of 44% compared to older generations which was more than 65%.  While it says a lot about voter apathy it also speaks volumes about how we are today driven by technological change.

The fact that we can now do so many things on our phones and through the worldwide web, then something as simple as voting in the UK could be added via a phone app or online.  It would be simple and easy and would at the very least guarantee a higher voter turnout particularly amongst the disenfranchised, technologically driven younger voters.  Electronic voting has recently been proven in Australia with more than 250,000 votes cast in the New South Wales Election through the iVote Electronic Voting System which uses both an online system and phone technology.

Of course sceptics would say that electoral integrity is paramount and that a system would need to be set up that is bullet proof and secure without the risk of corruption or fraud from hackers.   These are barriers that can be overcome with an IT system with a multi-layer security system that can prevent any potential corruption and ensure voter integrity.  And in the event of power or equipment failures then parallel systems in different locations can ensure the electronic system can continue without interruption.

Technology moves at an exponential pace so it would seem foolhardy to ignore a move to a more voter friendly and accessible electronic system in the delivery of elections.  Voter apathy especially amongst younger voters would then be a thing of the past.

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