Sunday, August 12, 2012

B.C. Considering Internet Voting

The Canadian province of British Columbia is considering studying internet voting. I've written about this topic before and it continues to generate hysterical reactions in the comment sections of various media outlets.

The interesting thing about this hostility to online voting is that it comes at a time when people in Canada are pretty turned off with politics, and voter turnout rates especially among youth, are at historic lows. Academics and politicians are continually lamenting this democratic deficit and trying to find ways to re-engage people. In this context online voting makes sense, and the people frustrated with "politics" because their voice is not heard, should welcome an easier way to vote. But instead the comments sections are overwhelmingly opposed to online voting, which I believe shows both a fundamental lack of understanding how the electoral process in Canada works, and also a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the technology of the internet.

Let's go through a few of the comments on two sites that posted news stories on this topic, CTV News and Opinion 250 News.

The biggest complaint seems to be the idea that the internet will make fraud easy, and there are even a few references to the Conservatives various voter suppression tactics of the last federal election. Internet voting would have eliminated the possibility for such Conservative dirty tricks, as robocalls telling people their polling station has changed wouldn't work.

The bigger question about fraud though assumes that the internet is a less secure medium because of "hacking". Never mind that the current set up lets pretty much anyone vote as many times as they feel like it, so long as they can either get someone to vouch for them or have documentation with multiple addresses. Anyone who has moved often and kept old hydro or cable bills, could easily show up at a polling station on election day, say they're not registered because they just moved, show the documentation and vote. None of which requires any technical skill. Compare that to hacking into a government computer system and intercepting encrypted traffic in real time. The current system allows anyone, now matter how much of a dope they are to commit electoral fraud, whereas an internet voting system would require one to be a top flight internet security expert. If "hacking" was as easy as these people say it is, then virtually anyone with an internet connection could rob a bank and get away with it, considering that virtually all global financial transactions are electronic now. Why bother with trying to change an election when one could just as easily hack the stock market and become an instant millionaire? Does anyone actually believe that if the technology were not secure, capital markets would use it?

Another common sentiment in the comments is that voting online would be too easy, and thus somehow cheapen the electoral process if there was actual mass participation. The fact that right-wing parties have flourished in low-turnout environments is the source of such conservative and anti-political sentiment. The fear here is precisely that elections might actually end up electing people that the population likes.

3 comments:

Mr. Mcgranor said...

What a horrible idea.

Nhà Đất Xinh said...

Kênh thông tin mua bán nhà đất tại Việt Nam , nếu bạn muốn mua hay bán nhà đất thì chỉ cần vào đây , chúng tôi sẽ cho mọi người biết về tin của bạn,rao vặt nhà đất miễn phí nhà đất tphcm, bán nhà quận gò vấp, bán nhà quận thủ đức, bán nhà quận tân phú, bán nhà quận 9, nhà đất bình tân . Còn chần chờ gì nữa , hãy đăng tin mua bán nhà đất nhanh nhanh . Bạn đang phân vân không biết phải chúc đám cưới bạn mình như thế nào thì bạn có thể tham khảo chuc dam cuoi, in thiệp cưới rẻ, loi chuc dam cuoi hay va rat y nghia .

Muatotthuoc said...

Xương khớp là một trong những bệnh của tuổi già hay của những người ít vận động. Thai hoa cot song cũng là 1 trong những căn bệnh về xương khớp. Việc chữa trị bằng những phương pháp thông thường có thể kéo dài thời gian lâu hoặc hiệu quả chưa cải thiện tốt nhất.
Vì nhắm bắt nhu cầu đó, chúng tôi cung cấp sản phẩm Davinci Disc Discovery - Thuốc điều trị bệnh thoái hóa cột sống và đĩa đệm. Hỗ trợ 1 cách tốt nhất cho việc điều trị căn bệnh. Ngoài ra mọi người còn có thể sử dụng thêm Dong trung ha thao aloha giúp hấp thụ thêm dưỡng chất tốt nhất.
Công ty MTT chúng tôi còn cung cấp thêm rất nhiều loại sản phẩm cao cấp được sản xuất từ Mỹ. Bảo đảm chất lương hàng 100% là hàng thật và giá cả cạnh tranh nhất trên thị trường. Một số sản phẩm tiêu biểu sau:
fertilaid for women
omega 3 fish oil
collagen youtheory
kem chống nắng neutrogena
melatonin
Ivory caps
kem tri seo
dong trung ha thao
Nếu cho nhu cầu hãy liên lạc với chúng tôi ngay khi có thể. Chúng tôi sẽ tư vấn hỗ trọ các bạn 1 cách nhiệt tình nhất