When online voting was first introduced, the general opinion was how great a solution it would be to the challenges involving time in lining up to cast votes and the accuracy and speed of counting those votes. The general consensus is that online voting has many advantages but does it have any negative repercussions on democracy? Everything is going digital and who knows, e-voting may very well be a fixture in democratic elections sooner than we think. Paper ballots can be lost and misplaced and its a risk that no one wants to make during elections. With online voting, sending data and tallying numbers are much faster. It seems almost too perfect a system to have but is electronic voting, or e-voting, via digital devices truly error-free?
1. E-voting can still lose “ballots”.
The NSW Electoral Commission endorsed the use of iVote in the the state’s 2015 ballot. They claimed it would greatly reduce systemic errors, such as losing votes, having informal votes, and creating counting errors. Apparently, an error rate of 0.1 per cent occured during the casting of around 43,000 votes via iVote. This means 43 votes were viewed as “N” by the system, which meant a java script error occurred. Coincidentally, the same error rate occurred during the “lost ballot fiasco” in Western Australia that lost 1370 votes out of the expected total of 1.4 million votes. Even machines can get votes wrong.
2. E-voting does not cause a greater voter turnout.
You would think that the ease of voting online will entice more eligible voters to register, cast their votes and exercise their right to vote. It turns out that this is not completely true. According to the project manager of Norway’s online election system, the integration of e-voting does not have a direct correlation with the number of voter turnout.
3. E-voting can also have security issues.
Even if votes cast online cannot be physically stolen like paper ballots, votes can still be hacked and manipulated by hackers. Although the good kind of hackers also exist. They are allowed by the likes of Google and Microsoft that test systems, find vulnerabilities and report them back to the agenc.