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WA Election To Try Online Voting 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the opportunity-cost dept.
AuMatar writes "According to the Seattle Times, the King Conservation District is going to allow online voting to combat chronic low turnouts. You can already view the voting portal. As a citizen of WA seriously concerned with politics, anything that completely removes a paper trail like this scares me. Luckily, this is probably the least important election in the state. I wonder if anyone will hack the election so 300% of voters vote for Firefly or Stephen Colbert or something."
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WA Election To Try Online Voting

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  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:07PM (#35271852)
    I have never understood the emphasis on voter turnout. It is more important to have voters who understand (and care about) the issues being voted on than it is to have a large number of voters. Making it easier to vote does not improve the responsiveness of government to the voters, it actually does the reverse.
    Of course if one examines the other policies supported by the "make it easier to vote" groups, one quickly realizes that they
    want a larger number of poorly informed voters.
  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:09PM (#35271870)

    I can verify the paper trail myself when I vote. I fill in a black line with a marker and put in a scanning machine. It reads it it then drops it in a tub and I get a receipt with a code on it it. I can go watch them empty the locked tubs and watch a hand recount if it want. I can also watch the locked ballets sitting in a jail cell if I wish (in the case of a recount).

  • by urbanriot (924981) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:10PM (#35271884)
    So rather than politically engaged voters who care, travelling their voting station to cast a ballot, we can now encourage everyone to click vote, based on who has the best style, a trustworthy face and catchy slogans! Like. Comment. Vote.
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:11PM (#35271890)

    Seriously, this is just a horrible idea.

    You just cannot reliably determine anyone's identity online.

    There are some functions of government that can already be accessed online, like paying taxes. But that's not a problem since no one besides the taxpayer would want to voluntarily contribute money, so there is little incentive for someone to falsify their identity for that. There is huge incentive for people to participate in a free process (voting) that determines the policy course of states and nations.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:29PM (#35272078) Journal

    IMHO, postal votes should be reserved for those who can't get to the polling station because of some disability or travel. The problem with postal votes is that, for a family, or anywhere that has a shared postal address, you simply don't know who is completing the ballots and returning them.

    I expect that there are many households where the head of the household collects all the postal ballots, completes them, and then instructs the family member to sign (or simply forges a signature).

    Online voting has the same problem, plus many others.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 21, 2011 @04:46PM (#35272230) Journal

    High turnout means more people have consented to be ruled. Low turnout means they've withheld their consent. It has a direct bearing on the legitimacy of the government.

  • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Monday February 21, 2011 @05:46PM (#35272922) Journal

    What's even worse is if you actually can determine someone's identity online, even if it's not 100% reliable. Because then someone somewhere can determine how people voted and all kind of shit will hit the fan.

    But even a 100% perfect, secure, open source, pure gold, RMS-approved online voting system will have a fundamental flaw: people will be able to vote from a location (e.g. home) where others can see how they vote. This will enable criminal organizations to buy votes with money or threats and check that people actually vote the way they want.

    The only way to prevent this is to force people to vote in only one location, the fucking voting booth, where they can and must cast their vote in secret. So even if criminals pay someone to vote for a certain candidate, they will never be certain that he/she actually voted for that candidate.

    Any type of remote voting is fundamentally flawed. It's not about the implementation details, it's the basic concept that cannot work.

    And, yes, this is an actual and real problem: when Italy tried remote voting by mail for Italians abroad in 2008, criminals literally went home-to-home to bribe and threaten people and collect votes. Everyone knows this, but still the Mafia got their candidate elected (Nicola Di Girolamo, for the record). Yes politics in Italy are shitty for a number of other reasons, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to make life harder for criminals, here and elsewhere.

    The people that cast 300% of the votes for Colbert with high-tech hacks are the least of anyone's problem. The criminals that move 1% of the votes with low-tech bribes to voters will destroy your democracy.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday February 21, 2011 @11:21PM (#35275454)
    And what dream world are you living in?

    First, the train of "logic" in your first paragraph is derailed before it starts: a valid way to avoid controlling other people's lives is to vote for candidates who also don't want to control other peoples' lives, and will help get government out of said lives. (It is Libertarian philosophy in a nutshell, after all.) The last part of that sentence also does not make any sense, because by refusing to vote for those who want to reduce government, you are abdicating responsibility and giving government, by default, to those who do want control.

    Therefore, showing up to vote out of angry is not self-destructive, because there are plenty of "smaller government" candidates to vote for these days, if only people would do so.

    Here is another piece of real world for you: if you try to make government "irrelevant" by ignoring it, you will end up getting trodden into the mud by all the jackboots.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson

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