E-VOTING UNDER SCRUTINY
With 13 local authorities trialling alternative voting methods, a You Gov poll commissioned by ntl:Telewest Business has shown that 46 per cent of respondents say that e-voting would make them more likely to turnout. The alternative voting methods which have been under trial since 2003 include internet voting, telephone voting and central polling stations for the electorate to vote from outside their local polling districts.
The poll revealed that the younger generation is more pro e-voting with 57 per cent of 18-34 year olds saying it would make them more likely to vote. Only a third, 36 per cent, of over 55’s agreed with them.
With an estimated 10m UK households now using broadband to access the Internet and some 4,700 local libraries in the UK offering free Internet access, the technology is in place to extend remote Internet voting. But confidence of voters and security are the main issues and the Electoral Commission will be closely monitoring pilots in the local elections on 3 May.
Internet voting will be piloted by Rushmoor, Shrewsbury and Atcham, South Bucks and Swindon Councils. Although detailed arrangement will vary, remote Internet voting will take place before polling day and on polling day. The pilot schemes will allow the Electoral Commission to make a detailed assessment of a number of key factors, including patterns of usage and take-up, accessibility, security and confidence in electronic voting. In one area there is a relatively high proportion of registration by service personnel at the local army barracks and the effectiveness of the system will be watched closely to see what lessons can be applied generally to service personal.
The Electoral Commission will report on all alternative methods of voting in August 2007