LETTER: Security and transparency will be lost with internet voting

LETTER: Security and transparency will be lost with internet voting

I disagree with your editorial advocating internet voting. I think you make a mistake by identifying the problem of low voter turnout as convenience rather than engagement. If someone is engaged enough about the issues, they will make the small effort to visit a polling station. If they aren’t engaged enough to do that, I’m not sure I want them to have a voice in electing my government. As for the Australian example, I think forcing uninformed and disengaged citizens to vote is a greater threat to democracy than low voter turnouts.

Internet voting fails two important tests for the integrity of our voting system – security and transparency.

We’ve seen enough examples over the past few years of how vulnerable the internet is to interference, deception and outright crime. You dismiss the threat of hacking by referring to the Estonian example. As we know, the country was the victim of a vicious Russian cyberattack in 2007 that disabled pretty much the whole internet, including government ministries, political parties and newspapers. An international team of independent experts reviewing their internet voting system reported in 2014: “What we found alarmed us. There were staggering gaps in procedural and operational security, and the architecture of the system leaves it open to cyberattacks from foreign powers, such as Russia…We have confirmed these attacks in our lab – they are real threats. We urgently recommend that Estonia discontinue use of the system.”And, yes, I don’t think Russians are interested in our local and provincial elections, but others closer to home could be. Parties, candidates and fringe elements have their own motivations for manipulating the system, as do cybernerds who do it just for the challenge.

Election transparency is defined as the public ability to verify each essential step in the electoral process. Voting in person with paper ballots may look primitive but it allows election officials to verify who is actually voting. Scrutineers representing the candidates observe the entire voting and counting processes at the polling station and are entitled to challenge anything that may appear improper. The more that electronic systems are involved in the voting process, the less transparent it becomes. It’s a remarkable testament to the professionalism of the election officials and scrutineers that all the results of our elections with paper ballots are usually known within a couple of hours, with absolute transparency.

I think our efforts would be better directed to finding ways to motivate and inform voters, something I think the internet is well suited for.

Bob Crane

Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are investigating after several vehicles were smashed and a basement was flooded along lower Cook Street March 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating smashed vehicles, flooded basement on Cook Street

Police seeking witnesses, footage of several ‘mischief’ incidents

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating sudden death in Beacon Hill Park

Police, paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive person early Wednesday

Hundreds of child care spaces will be available in Greater Victoria in the coming two years. (Unsplash)
More than 300 child care spaces opening in Greater Victoria in next two years

Province announces spaces in Victoria, Sooke, Saanich and North Saanich

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

t
Province invests $2M in three Vancouver Island food hubs

Hub network provides shared-use processing facilities to small agri-businesses

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Missing woman’s remains recovered after Vancouver Island boat fire

Remains of a 60-year-old woman recovered after Feb. 27 boat fire took her life

Most Read