in a nutshell


in voting we DO NOT NEED electronic
(we don't need its speed and it doesn't give any reduction of costs)

in voting we NEED NOT to have electronic
(we need elections to be under the control of the people).

open Democracy needs votes to be anonymously collected and recorded

Democracy needs votes to be anonymously collected and recorded.

In electronic elections we can use criptography, secret passwords, special networks, Mathematical Voting Systems and any other techniques, but at the end we'll always have a file of anonymous votes which can't be verified because:

  1. only the voter could verify his own vote, but nobody knows who he is!
  2. even if we could find a safe way to allow voters to verify the vote stored in their behalf, we couldn't trust their verification! Voters may be under illicit pressure to confirm or deny such vote, they may have changed their mind, or they may wish to mess election up.
  3. the fact a vote was properly stored doesn't implies it was also properly counted up.

open Democracy needs votes to be collected, stored and tallied up honestly

Since votes (not only electronic votes!) cannot verified against the will of their (unknown) voters, we have to hope they have been collected, stored and tallied up honestly and without any external interference.

We can only verify that all the electoral procedures have properly worked (no system crash, no logged errors...). From the absence of errors we should deduce the correctness of electoral results. We know that logs, report, files, everyting on any computers can be modified, hacked and replaced. We also know that such actions are extremely easy for the computers' owners (usually the incumbent governments, or their contractors, which have obvious interests in the election).

In any case the above verification can only be done by some very qualified technical staff. They will probably belong to a private company and they will certify electoral results just as the bosses of ENRON did certify their financial statements until the end. Unfortunately we can't neither relay on the hope that public and civil servants are more honest than private employees.

open VVPAT

VVPAT are not a solution since:

  1. being the only trusted votes, VVPATs should be printed AND COUNTED for each given vote!
  2. An "electronic" election with full VVPAT printing and counting doubles the effort of any election: counting of electronic votes and counting of VVPATs.

open foreign countries and terroristic groups are interested in attacking our elections

Electronic elections are out of any democratic control. Since elections give the power to rule nations and peoples, it must be assumed that elections' attackers are highly motivated, well financed, sophisticated, and could be outsiders as well as insiders with full knowledge of the election system. These attackers could be political operatives, voters, vendor personnel, polling place workers, election administrators, foreign countries, international terroristic organizations, or just pranksters.

open it's easy to set up a dictatorship using e-vote

Dictatorships are usually set up and preserved by means of violence, but the power can also be taken and preserved using electoral fraud. Whenever such fraud were undetected the electoral results would no more rely on our votes, but we, the people, would not even notice to have lost Democracy since we would continue voting.

open it's easy to preserve a dictatorships using e-vote

If your country will ever be ruled by a dictator, in case of electronic election will you trust its results? You will not have any help from International observers: they can help in paper election, but they are useless in e-election.

open In any case democracy deserves the "precautionary principle"

In any case, since there are so many doubts about e-vote, we should apply the Precautionary Principle to elections as well: we should continue voting using ballot papers as we have succesfully done for the last two centuries.