Electronic voting held at bay in Scotland

In the wake of years of campaigning by Open Rights Group, trials for electronic voting in Scotland are no longer imminent.

Sold to the public as a way to increase democratic participation, electronic voting does the opposite by undermining public trust in the democratic process.

To maintain public trust, elections must satisfy three conditions. They must be:

  • Secure – Your vote has to be secure, steps must be taken to make sure it can’t be tampered with; but also
  • Anonymous – Your vote can’t be traced back to you, protecting you against coercion; but also
  • Verifiable – It has to be shown that one person cast this one vote, and didn’t cast another to be counted, but also continue to be secure and anonymous.

Importantly, these conditions must be met in a way the public can easily understand. Electronic voting’s technical complexity enables the opportunity for losers to claim fraud, and their supporters to believe them.

In 2018 the Scottish Government held a public consultation on electoral reform including proposals for trials of electronic voting. Dozens of ORG supporters submitted their concerns and the consultation responses showed what ORG has been arguing: electronic voting does not improve participation and risks democratic integrity.

Facing with overwhelming public scepticism, the Scottish Government’s plans to trial electronic voting are being reassessed.

The Story So Far

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E-voting’s Unsolvable Problem

E-voting is sold to the public as a solution to the problem of democratic participation, especially ‘the youth’ turnout.
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Electronic Voting: An idea whose time has come to go away

The Scottish and Welsh  Governments want to run trials of electronic voting.
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