They're not voting because...
- Allow me to vote without having to leave...
Allow me to vote without having to leave my house/office and i'll vote. I'd like to vote, but I just don't find the time, given all it should require is a firefox window, punching in my national issurance number and some misc id checking and a tick box it guts me that this country (and most countries as it stands) can't get with the ages and let me vote.written 11th Apr 2005
Andrew replies: If u cant find 5 minutes between 7am and 10pm you are working way too hard.
U need to get out and interact with people more and not rely on ur computer for everything and perhaps u won't be quite so cynical/apthetic.written 11th Apr 2005
Azriphale replies: As a qualified IT security consultant (CCSP)with over 7 years of real world experience. I can tell you that while a secure voting system is technically possible over the Internet, it is a logistical nightmare.
1) How do you properly authenticate people? There are hundreds of people with access to my NI number, so that won't work. Addresses are the same. And don't get me started on biometrics (which don't work) or DNA fingerprinting (which is an invasion of my privacy)...
2) Even if you could assemble all the data required to properly identify and authenticate everyone in country it would still have to be entered in a database system. Lets assume that there are enough data entry personnel available to accomplish this. Even with a one percent error rate you would still be looking at a very large chunk of the population missing out on voting.
3) No security system is perfect. While I am not worried about someone emtying my bank account (the reward would not be enough to justify the work), I would be worried that some organised crime group manages to break the voting system. The reward for the reward of running the country.
4) Have you seen the mess that has been made of postal voting?
5) What about those using Netscape, Opera, IE, Safari, lynx, avant, Galeon, etc? Which particular encryption standards would you support DES/3DES/AES 40/56/128/256bit?
6) How would deal with connection resets during the voting proceedure?
Servers could easily crash, contractors with diggers can easily cut internet or power lines? Hard disks/disk controllers can fail.
Do you need anymore reasons to walk to vote?written 11th Apr 2005
Richard replies: Pretty poor excuse this; you probablyonly live 1/4 a mile from your polling station. By all means dont vote because you dont agree with the parties or the system, but not because you cant do it online.
All Azriphale is very valid, there are huge security/accessibility issues regarding internet voting as well as huge potentual for vote rigging.
(Besides, its an ACTUAL fact that computers melt your brain into cottage-cheese-like-mush, so you could probably do with some time away from it.)written 11th Apr 2005
Paul replies: Pretty weak reasons as a security expert too if you ask me. Yeah hard disks can crash and diggers can cut through cables but that's what back-up systems are for. You run several systems side-by-side in parallel and make sure everything is mirrored and backed up correctly. I manage to do all my tax self assessements and corporation tax online and that's quite secure, so with a little bit of planning a decent system is possible.written 12th Apr 2005
Rod replies: If you can't be bothered to Vote, then Great! That just adds more value to the votes of people with motivation, community drive and intellect.
Maybe one day,virtually everybody will suffer from terminal apathy, and boy what an important vote mine will be on that day.
...and if you dont like the parties, then go out and spoil your vote. the spoilt votes are read out with all the other results, so if you have a message then you can get it across.written 12th Apr 2005
Azriphale replies: Even if you had a backup for everything there is still substantial scope for failure. For example I have come across an organisation with two separate backups for power failures - a generator, and a battery backup. All was fine until the switch controlling the supply failed. The result, the building was left on the generator even though the main supply was working. The generator detected the mains was fine and switched itself off. Once the batteries had been used up, everything shut off. The point of this tale? No backup is perfect. If they were I wouldn't have a job :)
Also does your internet connection/computer have a backup?
Aside from this backup solutions cost money. Investing millions of our tax in an online voting system that is used once or twice before becoming obsolete seems a little bit of a waste.
Also the systems you site are not as time critical as an election. If the tax system breaks you can go back tomorrow (up to a point). But you cannot do this with an election.
Given another 10 years or so, we maybe in a better position to use online voting.written 12th Apr 2005
Archie replies: In light of the last 2 US elections I would not want any system other than a cross on a physical ballot paper. The counting of which is overseen in a public venue and the ballots available for a recount.
I am extremely suspicious of postal voting and would like to see people turning up at the poling station with two forms of identification (and a digital snapshot taken of them as they register to vote at the poling station).
They are then given an annonymous voting slip.written 23rd Apr 2005
The rest is behing a screen in private.
Paul replies: Some good points I'll admit that... one thing to note is that I would guess that an Internet voting system would in fact be open for a while before voting day and not just open on the actual polling day. The systems in place (Government Gateway) already could be used as a basis for infrastructure so there's no need to spend too much extra on the set-up.
Also mirrors don't necessarily need to be at the one location i.e. one goes down and traffic is routed to another mirror, that's the whole basis for the 'net, traffic can be routed to reach a destination.
On polling day the voting systems are closed and the results published with the normal ballots.
One vote per person is easy enough to rig up and it's a lot easier for officials to monitor than postal voting.
The system could be used on a much wider basis than just the general election, what about the local elections, referendums etc.? It could open up a whole new age group to voting who generally can't be arsed to move. ;-)written 25th Apr 2005