Electronic voting - a step in the right direction, but not a panacea

От МOVE.BG, публикувана на 4 април 2016

MOVE.BG hosted a discussion on "electronic remote voting - technical and political aspects."

The meeting on March 1, 2016 brought together IT experts, election observers and advocates of electronic voting and was organized by the club "Elections: Direction future " to civil platform for discussion and common action.

The discussion aimed to address major issues related to electronic remote voting. Guests discussed all aspects and explained the positive and negative effects of its introduction.

Petar Slavov

MP from the civil quota of RB is a member of the legal committee in the National Assembly, speaking in his role as co-sponsor of the bill. The authors provide remote electronic voting to be introduced until 2018.

Bozhidar Bojanov

IT expert and programmer and advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Rumiana Bachvarova on e-governance, explained the technical aspect - the most important part that can lead to eventual success or failure. He explained how to guarantee the secrecy of the vote - by dividing the information for each voter through blind signature. According to him, the technological element is left outside of the bill, because it can constantly change and update to innovations.

The failure of an electronic remote voting can be because of poor quality, which will be decided with the introduction of open source. As a plus Bojanov stressed that this type of voting is even more secure because preferences would be recorded accurately. Open source allows any specialist to be able to check weaknesses and eventually to suggest improvements.

Nikolai Valchanov

Expert on electoral processes commented the two bills on electronic remote voting imported by GERB and RB. He outlined the pros and cons of both proposals. Pointed plus of the two bills was the caution - both bills include trial implementation. Also open source, ensuring high reliability and a choice of voters between electronic voting and voting by paper ballot. The criticism concerned the fact that in society there is presence of no confidence in the electoral process and the introduction of electronic voting will contribute to enhancing it. According to him, it can`t guarantee the secrecy of the vote and the freedom of the statement. He gave an example with Estonia, where they still continue to build on developments to enhance security for the guarantee of secrecy of the vote. Furthermore, electronic voting should be restricted by law for electronic identification.

Some of the questions were related to the connection between voting and electoral roll. Low confidence in the electoral process, how electronic voting will raise it and is there a risk to be opposite? Also there were comments that the decision of the bad election administration can be sought only with the introduction of electronic voting.

The main conclusions are that electronic voting can`t solve problems with the discredited trust of voters, poor administration and controlled vote. However, it may contribute in increasing the turnout by attracting more young voters and especially - making it easier to vote for Bulgarian citizens abroad. The high voter turnout will not stop buying votes, but can significantly reduce their influence on the final result.

Remote electronic voting is a step in the right direction

It will facilitate the administration of elections and make the electoral process more accessible. Its successful implementation will depend mostly on technical parameters and political will.


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