Election Universe

UK counting on online voting to stem voter apathy and increase turnout

UK counting on online voting to stem voter apathy and increase turnout
July 27 2015, 12:18

The digital space has all but overrun every aspect of life in the United Kingdom. The rapid growth of digital business in the country strengthens Britain position as one of the global hub of technology excellence. Despite all these technological leapfrogging however, the UK’s electoral system is a curious anachronism with its reluctance to do away with traditional paper-only voting platform.

This situation is one of the factors being used to explain the decrease in voter turnout in the country. In 2010, 65.8% of registered voters turned out to vote. This year, 15.7 million people did not vote in the past election.

To remedy this problem, which some experts view as an incipient yet very real threat to democracy, Areeq Chowdhury, founder/and CEO of WebRoots Democracy, has proposed the adoption of online voting.

Chowdhury cites a recent report published in WebRoots Democracy that shows online voting to boost voter turnout as much as 79%. He emphasized the fact that online voting could lower the cost-per-vote by 30% and increase the accessibility of voting for those with vision-impairments and other disabilities.

Online voting is also expected to result in a better-informed electorate and significantly reduce the number of accidentally-spoilt ballots.

For Chowdhury, another important reason to introduce online voting is sustainability. He believes that voter engagement has to be long-term and future-proof. While he is not optimistic that online voting will realise 100% turnout, he is convinced that the UK’s democracy will be the ultimate winner if its gains massive adoption.

In spite of being a strong advocate, Chowdhury cautions that online voting also entails security concerns, just as any transaction conducted over the internet. To address these issues, a research team at the Computer Science department at the University of Birmingham has developed a system that allows people to vote by employing independent hardware devices in conjunction with their PCs. This new application is expected to be a “breakthrough” in secure online voting and will be ready for use in 2020 or 2025.


Image courtesy of majomka at Pixabay

Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/constitutionuk/2015/05/15/online-voting-is-the-21st-century-answer-to-poor-voter-turnout-in-the-uk/