Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Estonia already has internet voting

You can read all about internet voting in Estonia at this link.

Here is the data on the five elections in Estonia in which people have been able to use the internet to vote.

 
Local elections
2005
Parliamentary elections
2007
European Parliament
elections
2009
Local elections
2009
Parliamentary elections
2011
Eligible voters
1 059 292
897 243
909 628
1 094 317
913 346
Participating voters
502 504
 555 463
399 181
662 813
580 264
Voter turnout
47.4%
61.9%
43.9%
60.6%
63.5%
Internet-voters
9 317
30 275
58 669
104 413
140 846
Internet-votes counted
9 287
30 243
58 614
104 313
140 764
Internet-votes replaced with paper ballot
30
32
55
100
82
Multiple Internet-votes(voter changed their vote)
364
789
910
2 373
4 384
Internet-voters among eligible voters
0.9%
3.4%
6.5%
9.5%
15.4%
Internet-voters among participating voters
1.9%
5.5%
14.7%
15.8%
24.3%
Internet-votes among advance votes
7.2%
17.6%
45.4%
44.0%
56.4%
Internet-votes cast abroad among 
n.a.
2% 
51 countries
3% 
66 countries
2.8% 
82 countries
3.9%
105 countries
Internet-voting period
3 days
3 days
7 days
7 days
7 days
Internet-voters using mobile-ID
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
2 690
Internet-voters using mobile-ID among Internet-voters
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
1.9%


Who internet voting works in Estonia.   You can use your computer or smart phone to register to be able to vote online.   Once that you have done that, you can vote during the internet voting period, which is now seven days long.   The internet voting runs from ten days before the general voting day to four days before the general voting day.

You can change your mind with your internet vote.   You actually can change as many times as you want online till the end of internet voting.  You can further more replace your internet ballot with a paper ballot on election day.

There seems to be some evidence that internet voting does increase turn out.   The 2009 local elections had a lot more people vote than the 2005 ones.   The 2011 national elections had a small increase in turn out over the 2007 election.  It is still early to declare there is an improvement in turn out and if it comes from internet voting.

If people wonder about the security of internet voting, Estonia shows that it works well.   In 2007 Estonia was the victim of a large scale cyber attack by unknown foreign sources.   The Estonian electoral system remained secure.

As to it being anonymous, they seem to have done a decent job of it.   The encryption seems to be rather secure between the voter and their vote.   The system acknowledges the vote but does not make it possible for anyone to know who it came from other than the voter.  I do not read Estonian so I can not say exactly explain how it works with respect to the type of encryption in use, but it seems to be based on a public key infrastructure   Core to the system is the use of the Estonian ID Card, which is a smart card.   The ID cards are another very cool tech the Estonians are using, but more about that another day.

Since the system works, I suggest that Elections BC simply hire the Vabariigi Valimiskomisjon to run the trial here.   When it comes to technology, there is a lot Canadians can learn from the Estonians.
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