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back to article Survey: young Brits ready to embrace evoting

As Britain braces for its latest foray into the world of electronic, remote and even internet voting, a survey has found that almost half of us think we'd be more likely to vote if we could do it online. The YouGov poll of almost 2,300 people, carried out on behalf of NTL:Telewest's business unit, found that younger voters were …

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Ireland's experience

We trialled e-voting in 2 constituencies, the machines were purchased from Nedap in The Netherlands, the software wasn't published, the machines hardware schema wasn't published and the storage requirements went a bit beyond slinging them into the shed at the back of the Garda station.

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At least with traditional ballots I can go to the count centre and verify the process

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I wouldn't

I fit into that age bracket (23). I certainly wouldn't be happy with eVoting given the fiascos that have occurred elsewhere in the world.

Unless, upon entry to the polling booth I was with a good couple of hours to look over the source code of the software being used and examine the hardware personally. I don't think I would be willing to trust an official certification that the machine in use was up to scratch.

Give me a paper ballot any day.

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Disillusioned Nation

This is so overdue it is embarrassing. I for one would love the chance to use this mechanism to vote.

The problem is that it is not going to increase voting in this country until we have some sort of revolution here and the next government actually starts to look after its people first.

Then you will see an increase in voting; after all when you try to talk to someone and they dont listen how many times do you keep talking?

So here are my top ten Policies which would get the English people back into the idea of having a say in their country. (Not that I think we will see them!)

1. Do not allow people to stay in this country unless they have a skill to offer or a job to go to.

2. Stop wasting our tax payers money on Iraq. It was an ill conceived horrendous lie. Pull out.

3. Start public consultations on our public services and our transport infrastructure; we all use it every day why dont we have a way of talking about it as a nation?

4. Invest much more in the NHS.

5. Re nationalise the rail service.

6. This one isnt a policy, but where the hell is our pride for our nation?? I tell you where, its when we play football!!...why? because we cant believe in anything else!. If I looked on the TV one night and saw our prime minister showing passion and pride for our country I think id cry...we are all desperate for something to happen to make us believe again.

7. Homes and families. This is where the answers lie to ASBOS, violence, alcohol and drug abuse. We need our government to take responsibility for these problems and look at real ways of tackling them; I dont have the answers but I do know it all start with the family unit; something which now is harder and harder to hold together.

8. We need a permanent "none of the above" option when voting, after all what kind of confidence can you have in a voting turnout as low as the last one? At least if you give your electorate and opportunity to say we have had enough then something can be done about it.

9. Invest much much more in green technologies for power. This is so important to all of us.

10. More investment in education, after all knowledge is power.

Ill get off my soap box now ....hope it raised some passion out there!

Nik

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No!

If they want to make it easier to vote, collect them over a number of days, including at least one day of the weekend, rather than just on a Thursday.

As far as e-voting or text voting goes, it's probably going to be more difficult that just walking to the polling station. No doubt plenty of people will fail to register for a password in time, servers will be overloaded at certain times of the day and lose a bunch of votes, and people will find on the day, when it's too late, that they've forgotten their password - or in order to not forget their password, will have used the same one they use for everything else, or written it down somewhere, or both.

But I never understood the need to make it easier for perfectly able people to vote. It's not that difficult now. Making it easier still kind of demeans it. It should continue to be a serious thing that requires a certain ceremony - the walking to the polling station, the lying to the party reps outside, the asking why they need the number on the ballot paper if it's meant to be anonymous, the physical act of marking the paper with a curiously large pencil. etc, etc.

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What would be the point...

...of voting in a system that couldn't be trusted to produce accurate numbers of votes and can't be verified by hand? Might as well just hail Brown as God-Emperor for Life and have done with any pretence of democracy.

E-voting will invalidate even the votes of those who cast paper ballots, since their contribution will be irrelevant. It's too high a cost for a wider electorate.

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Vote early and vote often

It would be an invitation to electoral fraud and would probably lead to even more disillusionment with the political process. Given HMG's track record with major IT projects this is a totally predictable disaster.

Steve

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Well they would say that, wouldn't they?

"Survey carried out on behalf of NTL/TeleWest?"

Well, like they are an unbiased disinterested organisation which would benefit in no way whatsoever from online voting.

What next, a survey sponsored by Cadbury's that concludes that people number 1 foodstuff is chocolate? Or one from New Labour saying that Tony Blair is infalible and god-like?

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Illusioned Nation

Nik,

1. Why not use a Swiss-like system in which you are not eligable for any benefits of being a citizen for a certain period of time? If you can survive with no benefits apart from the NHS for a few years, I'd suggest you are a pretty good citizen.

2. No argument form me - get the troops out, and ideally jail Blair for sending our troops to die for a lie.

3. The reason we don't have public consultations is because nothing would get done - for any proposal, you can find someone who would disagree. Instead, get the experts together and give them a free rein to improve stuff.

4. The NHS has a load more money poured into it. It doesn't need more. It needs managers who know what they are doing, processes that work (look at the private sector for inspiration) and a change of culture away from waiting lists and towards caring for people.

5. Do you mean renationalise the infrastructure or the operating companies? Both? British Rail wasn't exactly a utopian paradise.

6. Pride in our nation? I think you realise why there isn't pride in our nation - internally we have dodgy healthcare, lousy transport and an unaccountable government. Externally we have illegal wars, pushing biometric scanning for everyone through Europe, data retention for years at ISPs expense and the most heavily surveilled (is that a word? It should be) population in the world. Pride?

7. Homes and families are the business of the family in my opinion. The government should not be interfering in my home life, thank you very much.

8. I like the "None" option, but I'd expand it - if "None" gets more votes than the rest of the candidates, the voting should be reopened with new candidates until someone acceptable is presented.

9. Power generation isn't done by the government - its done by private companies. If you want green power, there are several providers who use only renewable energy (or use carbon offsetting).

10. Education, Education, education. That was the pledge, just before they introduced £12k of fees to do a course at uni.

I'll give you back your soap box now.

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How well informed are those being questioned?

This is precisely why policy shouldn't be driven by focus groups and opinion polls, but by investigating the actual issues (like whether the system is secure, and can be SEEN to be secure; what EVIDENCE there is that it would increase turnout; and whether there are other simpler, more cost-effective ways of increasing voter participation and reducing cynicism).

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eVoting

Why don't the candidates submit their blogs to digg, then whoever has the most votes wins.

And there would be no perl script abuse or anything! :-)

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Expert's verdict? Absolutely no way...

See Rebecca Mercuri's expert opinion at:

http://www.notablesoftware.com/evote.html

"I am adamantly opposed to the use of fully electronic or Internet-based systems for use in anonymous balloting and vote tabulation applications. The reasons for my opposition are manyfold, and are expressed in my writings as well as those of other well-respected computer security experts... At the present time, it is my strong recommendation that all election officials REFRAIN from procuring ANY system that does not provide an indisputable, voter verified paper ballot..."

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Dis(Illusioned Nation)

Good points Phil, I agree about the first one; where do I vote? Hahaha.

I think the defining moment of our government not listening to its people was the March 2003 anti war march in London.

When you think that over a million people (1.25 million?) marched, and they still went ahead and did it; you can forget belief cant you?

The sad thing is, because we dont seem to either as a nation change this, through voting or otherwise; the English people are leaving because they have had enough. I know, I will be one of them!

Then on the other side, we are becoming so multi cultural; thus losing our identity; and "britishness" is viewed through rose tinted specs because for all intents and purposes it is dead and buried.

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No way

""Local government is often a shining example of how to provide online services, as such allowing local citizens to vote online would be very much in keeping with the digital age in which we now live."

Hmmm, no. Voting is unlike asking for a bloody tax form !Unless you're present during the counting, you can't say whether your vote has counted or has been binned. The only business case of online/electronic voting is, as everyone that's approached a computer over the last years knows, fraud.

Hardly is it quicker (french elections serving as an example), but the owner of the machines (and their friends, and to a lesser extend, knowledgeable hackers) can without leaving any tracks, build any results of the elections, regardless of which buttons have been pressed.

You pay 7kE/machine and you get control of the results, end of the story.

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