Voting by electronic ballot (especially when votes are cast over the internet) may sound modern and convenient, but the country's top experts all strongly advise against it at this time. Here are just a few reasons why it's not right for our co-op now, and why the recent bylaw change allowing its adoption is a mistake we must reverse.
- Massive data breaches of major financial institutions and our government's top military and administrative systems demonstrate there is no such thing as “internet security.”
- The country's leading technical experts (including the top computer-science professors from MIT, Harvard, and Stanford via VerifiedVoting.org) confirm that end-to-end security for internet-based voting systems is not yet possible and that vendor assurances to the contrary are bunk.
- Electronic voting would significantly increase risk, complexity, overhead, and expense because it would have to be in addition to paper ballots.
- The DEC board acknowledges that our co-op isn't yet ready to adopt electronic voting. They say they want to be able to adopt it "sometime down the road" without any additional member input. But we can't possibly know what technology the board might be considering down the road, and they are not experts or in any way qualified to determine whether a given system is securable.
- The technology is changing too fast to keep up with. Any new system DEC adopts might have to be abandoned or replaced shortly after adoption.
- Independent research shows (contrary to popular belief) electronic voting does not increase turnout and does not help engage younger people.
- Local and municipal elections by electronic ballot are highly vulnerable both to hacking and manipulation, and hacking is often untraceable.
- Suspicion of hacking or manipulation, which could never be ruled out, would radically reduce confidence in the voting process and undermine public trust in election outcomes.
- Challenged elections could drive significant additional expense and member frustration.
- The new bylaw language says that if you “fail to receive” an electronic ballot (which could easily happen), you’re basically out of luck.
To learn more about the problems with electronic voting, including how easily and inexpensively small, local elections can be hacked, visit VerifiedVoting.org.