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Electronic voting and electronic counting


With low numbers voting in the recent European elections seeing just under a third of the eligible voters, 31.5% turning out to vote. This is pretty dismal in terms of the democratic stability we hold so dear, above all else. Is our democratic system outdated and expensive?

 

Its long been said a rainy day can deter voters but in modern times apathy has been seen to occur in discussions , tv interviews and social networking across the country. The older population tend to vote in numbers but the other ages and social groups tend not to be able to or tend not to, for the effort some see to vote is more than what they see. The potential to engage and see these potential voters actually vote by using other methods, may go hand in hand with modern times.

 

More young people tend to vote on a Saturday night for their Xfactor or BGT choice on a weekly basis, from the comfort of their own home. So it is time to really consider if the political class need to open up ways that can engage but also uphold public confidence in elections and their results. Fears are shown in many ways like extra voting, wrong voting (great video of the Mccain and Obama election 2008- (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArC7XarwnWI) Estonia has seen at least 9% of voters vote by internet or text in recent years and increasing. Many votes that occur within political parties and organisations, happen via paper as well as a secure internet option using randomly generated codes for each voter.

 

Could Britain follow suit? I personally believe, though it would be a good idea to initiate secure electronic voting, the political classes sadly do not want to initiate change in this regard as it stands. In the UK there are examples where it is already in use, for example student unions across the UK, have seen significant increases in their turnouts, as well as those voters noted, the millions who vote on Saturday nights to reality TV but not to leaders of the country. The new generation of politicians may enable better focus and even trial this, but we remain years behind with the times.

 

Britain is about to change the way individuals are registered to vote, where rather than list those of eligibility, it is up to individuals to register. Arguably another outdated method, which by all predictions will see at least 10% of the electoral register disappear with those failing to register. There is a set time before elections in which non-registered voters may register and vote. We are in the 21st century and surely those presiding over elections could register electors on voting day itself having a shared database and ensure safe registration but also enable secure ballots without the risk of multiple votes.

 

The way the votes are counted is something that has not changed in many a year, it is counted manually and is highly time consuming. The question if this could be sped up using electronic counting machines is one that has been contemplated over time. It is expensive and results not known until the early hours of the morning- past the time many, except the political faithful go to bed. We live in a fast moving society and as already noted elections take some time and practically people wake up to find out who will be the next leaders.

 

So all in all, the system in use is outdated and slow and expensive, the way we register voters and conduct the vote is also slow and feel that we in the UK should look into this more and look to trail this somewhere. Internet voting happens within organisations and political parties already and sees Estonia both internet voting as well as text vote. Enabling these may enable voting to come to the voter , rather than the voter go to the ballot. Time for change ?   Image

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