From New South Wales to Wales, UK

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From New South Wales to Wales, UK is WebRoots Democracy’s submission to the Welsh Government’s consultation on democratic reform.

It is a joint submission with Dr George Theodorakopoulos (Cardiff University), Professor Mark Ryan (University of Birmingham), and Dr David Galindo (University of Birmingham). It relates directly to the question of remote online voting.

It makes the case for pilots of online voting in Welsh elections, and has been submitted alongside some of our previous research in this area.

Download and read the submission here.

Publication date: 10 October 2017.

The document sets out 3 recommendations:

  • The Welsh Government should commence pilots of remote online voting option in local council and Welsh Assembly elections within the next five years.
  • Pilots of online voting should be undertaken alongside the development of an online voting certification framework.
  • In order to obtain the benefits of electronic voting, the Welsh Government should proceed with pilots of remote online voting and not stand-alone electronic voting machines.

The submission contains forewords by Areeq Chowdhury, Dr George Theodorakopoulos, Professor Mark Ryan, and Dr David Galindo.

Areeq Chowdhury said:

“First time voters in the 2021 Welsh Assembly elections will be the first generation of voters born in the 2000s. They will not recall a world before smartphones and social media. As time goes on, a digital democracy will become an expectation instead of an aspiration. It is time we looked at how best we can bring this about and online voting will play an important part of that.”

Dr George Theodorakopoulos said:

“Wales’ digital transformation cannot be complete if online voting is unavailable as an option to the electorate. Empowering Welsh citizens cannot be limited to comparing energy prices online. Wales is right now in a unique position to be a Western European pioneer in digital democracy, and the government is the only body that can rightfully enable this change.”

Professor Mark Ryan and Dr David Galindo said:

“Technologies to fully realise this notion of voter verifiability are still under development. They have been used for professional association elections and university elections, and now they are beginning to be used for large-scale political elections in Estonia and in New South Wales, Australia. We believe that Welsh Assembly elections would be an appropriate place to trial them in the UK.”