« Email, Text, Phone | Home | Geek orthodox »

E-voting dead in the UK?

Posted on Fri, Sep 09, 2005 at 11:17 AM by Andrew Chadwick

There appears to be something of an emerging consensus among party politicians in the UK that the security fears over e-voting are enough to kill it off as an idea. The British electoral machinery has gone through quite difficult times of late, with several high profile cases of voter fraud during the May 2005 general election, so it's not surprising that this sort of experimentation is being frowned upon.

How to interpret the significance of this is less easy. E-democracy advocates tend to be divided on the issue of push-button style e-voting. Some simply define e-democracy that way, others have a more deliberative approach which values the processes leading up to the actual decision. Still others see the convenience of, for example, voting by mobile phone, as something symbolically significant that will spark off more general interest in Internet forms of consultation and participation.

There's certainly something in the view that there's little point in online deliberation unless, at some stage, this is tied to some form of decision-making. But this would appear to be better suited to local or small scale decision-making on discrete issues, with specific time limits in place. These pull people into the deliberative process and the decision. Giving people the opportunity to spend ten seconds texting their vote at a general election provides an opportunity to decide, without any obligation to deliberate.

« Email, Text, Phone | Top | Geek orthodox »