Who is enfranchised by remote voting? Ian Brown University College London
Falling turnout in UK elections <ul><li>Last two general elections saw turnout of 59% and 61%; post-war range previously 7...
UK remote voting <ul><li>Postal voting recently extended to all, gives key data for e-democracy </li></ul><ul><li>May 2002...
Postal voting <ul><li>Average in all-postal vote areas in May 2002 local trials had turnout 15% up on national average… </...
E-voting trial results <ul><li>Technology trials had no significant effect on turnout despite novelty value and heavy publ...
Is e-voting fraud plausible? <ul><li>Birmingham City Council 2004 election fraud “ would disgrace a banana republic” </li>...
Caught in the act <ul><li>Six men discovered by police in warehouse with 274 unsealed ballots </li></ul><ul><li>Three were...
Conclusions <ul><li>Postal voting has increased turnout, but evidence on increased demographic range is mixed – aside from...
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Who is enfranchised by remote voting?

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Presented in Edinburgh at IEEE software and applications conference

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Who is enfranchised by remote voting?

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