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Who is enfranchised by remote voting?
 

Who is enfranchised by remote voting?

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Presented in Edinburgh at IEEE software and applications conference

Presented in Edinburgh at IEEE software and applications conference

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    Who is enfranchised by remote voting? Who is enfranchised by remote voting? Presentation Transcript

    • Who is enfranchised by remote voting? Ian Brown University College London
    • Falling turnout in UK elections
      • Last two general elections saw turnout of 59% and 61%; post-war range previously 70-80%
      • Local council elections regularly see turnout of under 30%
      • 18-24 age group particularly under-represented
      • E-voting promoted in UK to reverse these trends
    • UK remote voting
      • Postal voting recently extended to all, gives key data for e-democracy
      • May 2002 council election trials using Web, SMS and telephone mechanisms
      • Next general election should be “e-enabled”
      • Pencil technology now too complex?
    • Postal voting
      • Average in all-postal vote areas in May 2002 local trials had turnout 15% up on national average…
      • BUT MORI concluded that those who voted by post in 2001 general election were “almost entirely those who would have voted in any case.”
    • E-voting trial results
      • Technology trials had no significant effect on turnout despite novelty value and heavy publicity
      • Trials did not become the “Big Brother” elections govt planned!
      • “ very few people claim to vote, or not vote, because of the voting arrangements. Wider attitudes to politics, the parties and the election in question play a more important role.” –Electoral Commission
    • Is e-voting fraud plausible?
      • Birmingham City Council 2004 election fraud “ would disgrace a banana republic”
      • Postmen coerced into handing over sacks of empty postal ballots and also completed ballots
      • Labour supporters collected ballots from voters
      • Judge concerned by number of amended ballots
    • Caught in the act
      • Six men discovered by police in warehouse with 274 unsealed ballots
      • Three were candidates
      • One (a trustee of a mosque) had signed 121 papers under five names and six addresses
      • Another Labour Party official was caught with ten sets of unused postal ballots
      • Britain’s electoral system is now “an open invitation to fraud”
    • Conclusions
      • Postal voting has increased turnout, but evidence on increased demographic range is mixed – aside from fraudsters
      • Remote e-voting trials found little technology effect even with novelty value
      • Potential for fraud demonstrated in most immediate way. Electoral Commission has called for scrapping of all-postal voting