Is paper the answer to election integrity?
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Is paper the answer to election integrity?

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Is paper the answer to election integrity? 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
  • Electoral gimmicks?
    • “ 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