Election Universe

Internet voting continues to gain traction worldwide

Internet voting continues to gain traction worldwide
October 22 2014, 13:06

The success of internet voting in Estonia, as well as successful experiences in Switzerland , the US, Canada and several other countries are a good indicator that the electorate is warming up to the idea of utilizing online technology to cast their votes remotely.

One of the biggest impetus for the adoption of this voting technology seems to be its ability to increase the number of voter turnout. And, under very special circumstances –overseas voters- Internet voting has translated into higher turnout. In Cook County (one of the largest electoral jurisdictions in the US), oversea voter turnout increased from 11% to 53% after the introduction of Internet voting in 2012.  In the 2010 Primary, General and Special elections in West Virginia, absentee ballot return rates increased from 58% to 92.5%.

According to Professor Alexander Trechsel, EU e-Voting researcher, 16 per cent of estonian i-voters said they probably would not have voted had internet voting been unavailable. Trechsel added that the presence of modern electoral administration in Estonia and Switzerland, coupled with strong political will and high internet penetration, made these two nations perfect incubators for internet voting.

Commenting on Estonia, Trechsel said that the country  was “leapfrogging, going from a Soviet republic in 1989 to one of the most advanced democratic systems, in terms of the way they handle votes, in only 16 years.” Furthermore, he stated “both cases were clever – they involved social scientists from the beginning, something other early movers [which failed to implement e-voting following trials] didn’t do. Their international work was very important; both the Swiss and the Estonians were very active in setting international standards”.

In spite of the achievements, internet voting is still in its infancy. Luckily, in recent years it’s been gaining steam. Improvements in security and reliability, and verifiability all point to internet voting as the future of democracy.

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net