E-voting has the license to indulge to all advantages that technology can provide in order to make voting procedure fast and secure. Same with technology, the evolution and upgrades of e-voting is unstoppable making it to be more complex in design and implementation as it follows to satisfy the demands of the general public to solve past issues that they encounter. This is a new challenge for us to be aware that e-voting is not permanent in design and will never be perfect.
Even in the most situations where electronic voting is proven to serve better than the manual procedure of election, there has been some controversy of the system which causes electrical fraud and questions the scalability of e-voting. 1. ) Usability – Not all people can use computers. Illiteracy can cause people not to vote and not inspire other people to vote as well. A person who wants to practice his/her right to cast a vote is required to know how to user the e-voting system and for the case of people who doesn’t know how to use a computer, this can be a big discouragement for them.
2. ) Denial of Service – Power, network, software, hardware and other failures causes e-voting systems not to run, causes people not to vote, delay the election process or even cancel the election schedule. This can be a malicious strategic attack by attackers or mismanagement of administrators during elections but either way, downtime, pending or absence of voting is never a good sign of an honest election.
3. ) Hackers and Attackers – Since that all transactions are done thru computers, it is very natural for people to suspect that attackers such as cyber terrorists or hackers to attack the system and gain political or personal advantage to it. Security in technology is always an issue that is never solved and e-voting will always be a victim of this dilemma. Whatever kind of security assurance that the developers may give, the author believes that there will always ways possible to penetrate into the system.
If someone was able to penetrate the firewalls of the US Pentagon, why will it be impossible to hack a simple voting system? In the succeeding pages, we will discuss more about security issues. 4. ) Scalability and Cost – Not all countries can afford an E-voting system plus the fact that it constantly upgrades and change like technology, E-voting systems are not definitely a thing to consider when it comes to “one-time buying”. Poor countries would rather put their money to something more valuable than E-voting systems like shelter, food and more.
5. ) Transparency – Compared from manual voting, electronic systems cannot offer good transparency. This is because the nature of work of computers is done electronically and it is physically not possible for humans to observe exactly what the computer is doing. Also, the methodologies, procedures and source codes of the program are entirely a secret from the public so it’s common for people to have doubts either if their votes are correctly counted or not. As E-voting lessen manpower who assists the election, it also reduce the number of people who can witness the procedure of vote counting.
Unfortunately, e-voting can never satisfy the public eye in terms of transparency because of these issues. (Mcgaley, Mc Carthty p. 154) The Risks and Challenges Electronic voting has the potential to improve our electoral process in many ways. However, e-voting is not problem-free. (Jorba, Ortega Ruiz, Brown n. d) A whole new set of risks and challenges is created by this new voting scenario that is based on the use of electronic voting systems (Mercury and Neumann 2003, Neumann and Parker 1989, Alexander 2001).
The risks and challenges of e-voting is classified into three categories namely the legislative, socio-political and technological. (Jorba, Ortega Ruiz, Brown n. d) The legislative concerns the legality and compliance of the e-voting procedure to the current electoral laws of a certain country. Socio-political challenges and risks are consequences of the impact on the electorate of new ways of voting and in particular of ICT-based voting systems (Mitrou et al. 2003) while the technological handles the security and confidence of the system.