Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy

An article by David Dill, founder of Verified Voting, from Stanford University: Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy <read>

How could we be fooled?

Suppose masses of emails get sent out to naive users saying the voting website has been changed and, after you submit your ballot and your credentials to the fake website, it helpfully votes for you, but changes some of the votes. You also have bots where millions of individual machines are controlled by a single person who uses them to send out spam…

How bad could it be?

Without being paranoid, there are reasons to believe that people would want to affect the outcome of elections. Right now, they spend billions of dollars trying to do it through campaign contributions and advertising and political consultants and all of that…What is the value of controlling the U.S. presidency? …

Professor Dill ends by explaining the current necessity of paper ballots:

We’ve had a long time to work out the procedures with paper ballots and need to think twice before we try to throw a new technology at the problem. People take paper ballots for granted and don’t understand how carefully thought through they are.

We would add that even paper is vulnerable.  We like the public counting of the paper by optical scanners, followed by strong ballot security, meaningful post-election audits, and close vote recounts.

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