What people think about electronic and online voting

The debate on electronic and online voting shows that some appreciate the benefits such as increased participation and reduced costs. Examples are presented of countries such as Estonia, Brazil, India, the United States, and Germany that have successfully implemented electronic voting in various electoral contexts.

The debate on electronic and online voting has become increasingly central in the context of contemporary elections. While some countries have already adapted to this new voting method, especially in public and private organizations, others have been more cautious.

There is no doubt that the idea of electronic voting (e-voting) and online voting (internet voting) has elicited mixed reactions over the years. On the one hand, many people are pleased with the benefits and results achieved-increased turnout and participation with a relative decrease in abstentionism, streamlined voting operations, exercising the right to vote without obstacles or technical and spatial barriers, significant savings in time and budget and the resources involved in setting up elections; on the other hand, however, concerns may arise on the issue of Security.

What people think about electronic and online voting: Hazards and Safety

There is no doubt that Internet voting facilitates participation in the democratic process and decision making. Without the need to physically travel to a polling station, more people are able to vote, especially those who live or work far away from the designated polling station.

Detractors, on the other hand, believe that digital voting may be susceptible to fraud and hacker attacks, however, and fear for the secrecy of voting and the management of one’s personal data, although the level of risk is to be associated with the size and relevance of the entity.

In fact, the risks are the most common ones related to the use of the Internet medium. One must also consider that the cybersecurity discipline has over time identified all the attacks that a computer system exposed on the Internet can suffer. For example, DOS attacks-that is, service interruption, spoofing-the falsification of identity-or sniffing-the unauthorized interception of data. Today, we are therefore able to prevent almost all threats with the use of established and effective encryption and software engineering techniques.

Electronic and online voting in the world

In Italy for many realities electronic and online voting is now a commodity: Universities, Schools, Municipalities, Associations etc. make extensive use of it. Other countries have gone further by implementing electronic and online voting in some political election contexts. Some examples include:

  • Estonia: electronic and online voting was introduced in 2005, and Estonia was the first nation in the world to allow online electronic voting in national elections. According to a 2019 report by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, electronic voting led to an increase in voter participation in the 2019 national elections. In addition, the report found that the use of electronic voting led to a reduction in the cost of organizing elections.
  • Brazil: Brazil has implemented electronic voting in all national elections since 2000. In 2016, the Inter-American Development Bank reported that electronic voting has reduced electoral fraud and made the voting process faster and more efficient.
  • India: India has implemented electronic voting in parts of the country since 1998 and has continued to expand the use of the system in all national elections. From 2020 report by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the use of electronic voting has led to a drastic reduction in abstentionism and reduced the budget invested in elections. In particular, the report found that the use of electronic voting has led to a reduction in the cost of printing ballots and transporting ballot boxes.
  • United States: in the United States, electronic voting has been used in some parts of the country since 2000. In 2014, the Pew Charitable Trusts highlighted how the use of electronic voting has led to a reduction in wait times at the polls in the United States.
  • Germany: Germany has implemented electronic voting in parts of the country since 2005. In 2017, the German Ministry of the Interior reported the benefits of using electronic voting: more streamlined and faster voting process, perfect, automatic and error-free counting of votes, and significant cost reduction.

In conclusion, the use of electronic and online voting has been cleared on a large scale in public and private settings where digitization of the election process has been found to have a strong impact on democracy.