Home > Digital Transformation, ECM, Paper free > Why is voting so archaic? 

Why is voting so archaic? 

votingThis morning I went to my local polling station to put a cross with a pencil on a piece of paper which I folded and put in a plastic bin, for someone to open and unfold later in the day and count one (1). I didn’t even need to show any ID.

This is 2016, the age of mobile apps and digital transformation. This process baffles me! I have a National Insurance number and a unique on-line government ID, through which they accept my tax returns, my benefits requests, my passport application, even my driver’s license renewal. Why isn’t that good enough to vote with?

Just consider the costs involved with current voting process: sending out voting cards (card+printing+envelope+postage), the hiring of the polling station, the people manning it throughout the day and counting the votes at the end, my time wasted going there and back, the time to open and count votes, the cost of managing postal votes for people who can’t vote in person (more cards, special printing,several envelopes,postage X2), etc. etc. And then the plethora of people involved in communicating (drip-feeding) the results throughout the night. And God only knows what other hidden back-office costs that I’m not even aware of.

If this isn’t a solid business case for replacing a paper process with electronic, I don’t know what is! It would have been so simple to have another gov.uk page for voting. I would log in from any browser with my government gateway ID (they already know who I am) tick a box, and press submit. That’s it, instant voting results! And on top of everything else, it is a lot more secure and auditable as a process. And it would encourage more people to vote.

C’mon UK government, can we move voting to the 21st century and save some of my taxpayer money in the process? Pretty please?

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  1. June 26, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    while electronic voting sounds great do take a look at all the problems with it in the US

    • June 26, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks Peter, if you are talking about Diebold, there are two fundamental differences (1) that system was designed as an electronic voting machine, which is not what I’m suggesting here; and (2) the UK government already has the relevant mechanisms in place that can be extended to be used for this, as we are already using secure authentication for online services for tax, passports, etc.

      And as you know, paper can be rigged just as much as electronic can be hacked. It’s not complex to devise a fully auditable polling form online, which will guarantee uniqueness and anonymity for the voters and a much more robust (and much cheaper) voting system.

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