I want my vote to count

The Observer (Sarnia) - - OPINION -

I was ab­so­lutely stunned when Sar­nia’s city man­ager there would be no more pa­per bal­lots in the 2018 mu­nic­i­pal election. To tell say the election will be by elec­tronic vot­ing with­out ask­ing for any in­put from the cit­i­zens of Sar­nia is not right. Over 75 per cent of Sar­nia’s vot­ers are se­niors. I know of many who don’t even have a com­puter, let alone a mo­bile de­vice. What about them? Aren’t they al­lowed to vote?

What the cit­i­zens of Sar­nia were not told was how dangerous this process re­ally is. Com­puter and net­work se­cu­rity ex­perts are vir­tu­ally unan­i­mous in point­ing out that on­line vot­ing is a dangerous threat to the in­tegrity of elec­tions. There is no way to guar­an­tee that the se­cu­rity, pri­vacy and trans­parency re­quire­ments for elec­tions can all be met with any prac­ti­cal tech­nol­ogy in the fore­see­able fu­ture.

To vote by bal­lot box you have to pro­vide a photo ID as well as your sig­na­ture, and have it matched to your Voter Reg­is­tra­tion In­for­ma­tion. That’s not pos­si­ble with elec­tronic vot­ing. If some­one were to have ac­cess to your voter reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion they could en­ter that in­for­ma­tion into the com­puter or mo­bile de­vice and vote for any­one and you would never know. There is no proof of who you voted for and no way to track and trace it.

Elec­tronic com­merce is world­wide and there is no ques­tion of that. It’s a lot safer than vot­ing on­line sim­ply be­cause if some­one fraud­u­lently uses your iden­tity to pur­chase a prod­uct or takes money from your bank ac­count, these ac­tions can be traced, tracked and fixed.

What a lot of peo­ple will find hard to grasp is the full im­pli­ca­tions of the fact that on­line elec­tions could or might be com­pro­mised and the wrong peo­ple elected via silent, re­mote au­to­mated ma­nip­u­la­tion that leaves no au­dit trail and no ev­i­dence for elec­tions of­fi­cials or any­one else to even de­tect the prob­lem let alone fix it.

These ul­ti­mately are the rea­sons why com­puter and net­work se­cu­rity ex­pects can­not pro­vide sat­is­fac­tory se­cu­rity for on­line vot­ing even though they can for on­line com­merce.

If you want your vote to count, the only way to be sure of that is with pa­per bal­lots.

Sandi Com­pagnion

Sar­nia

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