A few years ago many people in Holland were mobilized to do something against the voting computers. They were not safe it was said. Two of the commonest arguments to disallow voting computers were the following:
- There was no guaranteed privacy of your vote
- They could be modified to favour a specific party without anybody noticing (if done correctly)
In Holland (and probably all democratic countries around the world), it is your right to keep your vote a secret. If you do not want to tell who you voted for you don’t have to. Nice, you would think, now I don’t need to be ashamed that I voted for party X. Some people think that hiding your vote is a way to keep face with your peers. However, this is not true. The right to keep your vote secret is not a tool to hide your political preference from your neighbor. It is a tool to prevent a totalitarian government. By keeping your vote secret from the government, the government can’t do anything about you. (Offcourse, once you have a totalitarian regime this would not stop them from arresting you, but thats another story). By ensuring that your vote can’t be traced back to you the government only has voting totals and not a list of who voted for whom.
The right to keep your vote a secret is a constitutional right and should be handled with the utmost care. We should not allow the government or anybody else to weaken this right, not by law or by peer pressure.
With voting computers it became fairly simple to modify the elections outcome to suit your case. As a totalitarian party you might be inclined to change the outcome of the votings in such a way that you might gain seats in the government. If done on a clever way people might never notice untill it’s too late. In the ‘old’ days when voting was done using a pencil and paper, fraude on a large scale was much more complicated. Where modifying a few thousand voting computers requires only a few key people to be included in the complot, modifying an old fashined election becomes much more difficult as you have to bribe all the counters. This would increase the risk of your fraude getting known.
As I said earlier, Holland managed to disallow the current voting computers because they did not guarantee our constitutional rights. Now, during and after our first offlicial old fashioned election since the voting computer politicians, journalists and civilians alike are clamouring for internet voting. Did they already forget why the voting computers were disallowed? Voting via internet comes with the same problems as voting computers only a multitude more serious. Hacking the elections would require only one skilled person now, but thats not all. Voting via internet requires the electorate to sign in on the election website. The website needs a way to verify whether you are allowed to vote. However, if you’ve logged in it is only a simple matter to match the vote with the voter, nullifying our right of privacy.
Elections via the internet should not be allowed, not now or ever! Sure, anybody can see the benefits of internet elections. You don’t even have to leave the house, you can vote from your work etc. This would probably increase the number of voters, which is all a positive thing. However, people that are lazy enough not to vote when they have to walk a maximum of a few hundred meters should not vote at all. They do not have the interests of the country at heart, only their own.