Big Brother will be able to watch you vote (source)

Once again we are faced with the fact that (in Slovenia at least) stupidity is not confined to the political right. Namely: left wing MPs, Marko Pavliha (Social Democrats) and Slavko Gaber (Liberal Democrats) have proposed a bill which would enable electronic voting.

We are not talking about the antiquated electronic voting machines which (with a little help of Karen Huges and elderly Jews) fucked up Florida elections, but about proper electronic voting, with an electronic signature and a mouse.

I think this is a really fucking bad idea. The point of democratic and anonymous elections is that you cast your vote anonymously and without even a theoretical record of your voting preference. Electronic voting negates the very basics of free, fair and anonymous elections. If you use your (unique, might I add) electronic signature, vote from a specific IP address and cast your vote by clicking one candidate, records will be made.

This opens up a whole plethora of dangerous options, from election frauds to punshing individuals for their electoral preference. Because there will come a time when end will justify the means. And if something can be done, it eventually will be done. Sooner or later. Including controling the way people vote.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

10 thoughts on “V@ting”

  1. I’m not so sure on this one. I think introduction of electronic voting might promote electoral participation, especially among the younger population. I would venture a guess this is the reason the system is being proposed by the “left” politicians. Students and the tech-savvy being more likely to vote the left than the “farmer” church-going types with less of an appreciation for high technology (no offense to the modern farmers… respect!)

    I think these same people are aware of the risks they’re taking by casting their votes electronically… Since it’s a choice and just *an option* when casting a vote, I really don’t see it as much of a problem. Now if this manner of voting had been made compulsory, my standpoint would change accordingly.

    Whoops sorry for the rambling.

  2. Electronic voting is fine if it is done with care. I do not know the state of the art, but I know there is quite some research from specialists on cryptology for electronic voting while keeping anonymity.

  3. @dr. filomena: I agree that the political left might think about reaching the young and tehc-savy voters, but the mere fact that your vote is recorded somewhere and that it can potentially be linked to your person is extremely dangerous.

    @someone: Same argument. Traditional democrating voting offers practically zero chances of linking you to your vote. Polling places in Slovenia are aplenty and if politicians want bigger turnout, they should step out of their bubble and start communicating with the people and not jeopardising anonymity of voting.

  4. Something I would like to see cleared up : are you talking about voting over the Net or just plain pc-based voting? If it is the former, I have my reservations, if it’s the latter (which requires an electronic signature and a mouse as well), then it’s commonplace in most EU countries and there is not really a lot of danger of election fraud, because the pc’s are monitored by representatives (read : IT nerds) of all parties. At least, that’s how it’s done over here…

  5. Hmmmm…. It definitely requires an electronic signature and a mouse. But it’s done over the net. I agree that fraud is less likely (but still more likely than classic voting).

    But – again – the mere possibility of someone (the government) following your votes is dangerous.

  6. Then the problem lies not in electronic voting itself, , but in the eyes of politicians who want the NOC list. So, correct the problem at its real, corrupted source.
    Although yes, e-voting makes it easier for them to be evil. But I vote by snail mail which is more vulnerable and don’t think it creates such a big problem, as long as control measures are present.

  7. P, why can one’s vote being linked linked to one’s person be extremely dangerous?

    The problem as I see it is not really whether anyone knows how you’ve voted but rather whether this affects you in any significant way.

    I believe anyone should feel safe to express their political standpoints (to the extent permissible under Slovenian constitution) without having to fear consequences.

    While I know the above borders on utopian, I think the real issue here is why should people be afraid of others finding out how they’d cast their votes.

    Disclaimer: Undoubtedly, it is our right to keep our votes annonymous.

  8. I’m less worried about pc-based voting (although I do have some reservations) than I am about the touch screen machines such as those Diebold Corp has developed in the US. I’m also a little worried about people who can’t be bothered to take an hour or so out of their day to actually WALK to their local voting precinct office to cast their vote once a year. Call me old-fashioned…

  9. @dr. filomena: Say you apply for a job in civil service and someone wants to check how you voted in the last election or in the last referendum… With traditional voting there is no way to do that. But with this e-voting it becomes entirely possible.

    @pirano: touch screens make election fraud more likely, true. But as I said I think e-voting makes citizen control even more likely than it already is. In any case, I totally agree with you about taking a stroll down to the polling place.

    @Disablez: Voting by mail is of course a shitty compromise, if you can even call it that…

  10. @P: You missed my point. What I’m saying is that the issue is not whether one’s voting records can be checked, but whether how you’ve voted affects you in any way, such as your (informal) eligibility for e.g. a civil service job. If we adopt this line of reasoning (and while I admit that believing one’s political stance does not affect the chances of getting a job in the civil service, at least at any significant level, is slightly utopian), anyone planning on applying for such a position (cca 30% of Slovenian population) should never dare to reveal their political colours. Or that only roughly half of them can have a job at any given time. Humm 😈

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