Is paper the answer to election integrity?Presentation Transcript
Is paper the answer to election integrity? Dr Ian Brown, UCL
What are elections for?
Choose most popular party?
Express democratic will of the people?
Persuade losers to give up claim to power?
Britons seem quite attached to paper ballots
No mainstream use of mechanical or electronic voting machines as in US (far fewer votes)
Most popular voting technology is optical mark recognition (e.g. London mayoral elections)
Electoral Commission found that 2002 e-voting trials had insignificant effect (at most 2-3% impact on turnout despite novelty effect)
Recent UK electoral fraud
Birmingham councillors discovered in warehouse with stacks of altered ballots
Intimidation by party activists of elderly and minority voters
Controversy over other electronic evidence
PC John Munden complained of suspicious withdrawals from bank acct
Halifax reported Munden to Police Complaints Authority for attempted fraud; convicted and suspended from job
Ross Anderson acted as expert witness for appeal: found n o security manager or formal quality assurance programme; they had never heard of ITSEC; PIN encryption was done in software on their mainframe rather than using the industry-standard hardware
Halifax unwilling to allow defence access to test systems, so did not contest appeal
“ There is no substitute for democratic choice. People will regain their interest in elections only when they see that there is something worth fighting for... The gimmicks intended to encourage us to vote in increasingly pointless ballots will engender the very cynicism the government claims to be contesting.” – George Monbiot