Elections are designed to give people a voice while granting elected officials the legitimacy to govern.
This is why, the success of an election process hinges on trust. It is crucial for democratic governance that all election stakeholders can validate that their vote was registered and counted, and that results actually reflect the will of the voters.
Here we bring five ways in which e-voting can improve the trust in election results.
- It is not enough to have the right technology; you must use it the right way. The technology is right -and will increase legitimacy of elections- when: it solves a current problem or makes the processes more efficient; it’s customizable and user-centred; considers multiple channels; it’s implemented by experienced specialists; it’s auditable, and applies the latest R&D trends to advance voting basic principles (free, fair, equal, private, secure, easy, and speedy vote.)
- A complete auditable system can provide robust, comprehensive, and consistent data and results. Electronic and physical audited information (i.e. voter-verifiable paper audit trail) helps protect the fundamental rights of voters and improve transparency among election stakeholders.
- Addressing public concerns from individuals and experts on e-voting is a formidable tool for mapping better security requirements and industry standards. Policymakers, Election management bodies, advocacy groups and technology providers continually benefit from cyber-security research and enquiries. One upfront goal of technology and particularly e-voting is to offer safer systems every time, but also verifiable results in a timely manner. According to this Wired article, securing voting systems and thus improving voter trust is not a complicated
- As years go by and technology becomes omnipresent in our daily lives, the public’s view on e-voting has evolved to favour it. Not only in younger generations but across all the voting age population, electronic voting systems are helping re-connect citizens with their political participation and their right to vote. A recent study by Webroots Democracy proved just this about online voting in the UK.
- Election technology systems need to be easily upgradeable and patched. The reasoning behind this is simple: technology changes constantly. Therefore, static solutions are destined to fail eventually. To improving election integrity with e-voting, the first step is renewing outdated and vulnerable systems; then restructuring the complete election management cycle to guarantee it is fraud-proof; including voter registration information and databases into the security infrastructure, and committing stakeholders to accountability through multiple audits.