Online voting and e-voting could become a larger part of the political process around the world but only if the right technologies and processes are implemented to ensure its security, according to a new Atlantic Council study sponsored by McAfee (which is now part of Intel Security).
The study, which was released at an event at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday, found that many of the technologies that handle online financial transactions could be applied to make e-voting and online voting a reality in the future.
The study points towards Estonia as a successful example of remote online voting in national elections. They also point to successful examples of electronic voting in Australia, Brazil, France and India.
President of McAfee, Michael DeCesare said:
“Online and e-voting are examples of how a greater emphasis on security could empower a new era in digital democracy. Yet it will take more than technology to foster acceptance of online and e-voting; people need to have trust and confidence in the process. Pilot programs for local elections could be the route to earning public trust on a small scale. Once that trust begins to expand, we could start seeing online and e-voting’s benefits – from increased voter turnout to more efficient elections.”
McAfee states that online and e-voting is not widely implemented at the moment due to ‘technical barriers’ however they say that with ‘with the right, carefully chosen security considerations, online and e-voting could become more widespread’.
The Atlantic Council researchers noted that ‘cryptography, strong access control enabled by biometrics and securely written software’ could ensure the safety of votes cast online and the integrity of the system. They say that with these security considerations ‘online and e-voting could become more popular as young people who have grown up with the internet become older’.
Director of the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Jason Healey said:
“Online and e-voting’s potential in terms of reach, access and participation has the chance to revolutionise the democratic process, but there are a series of serious risks that will have to be mitigated. But Estonia has shown that it is possible, and we hope that our recommendations for a path forward will generate more discussions and trials.”
The report ‘Online Voting: Rewards and Risks’ can be read here.
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