Balancing security and simplicity in e-voting: Towards an effective compromise?

Lawrence Pratchett, Melvin Wingfield, N. Ben Fairweather, Simon Rogerson

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


Achieving system security while, at the same time, enhancing simplicity and convenience of use, is one of the fundamental problems facing the development of electronic voting (e-voting). One of the primary reasons for wanting some form of electronically mediated voting process is to enhance voter convenience and flexibility. 1 Rapidly declining turnout rates at national and local elections have prompted many to seek technological fixes to the problem, suggesting that recent declines might be halted, or even reversed, by the implementation of e-voting systems. Research for the Electoral Commission immediately after the UK General Election of 2001 suggested that two-thirds of non-voters (in other words, 27 per cent of the total electorate) would have been more likely to have voted if they could have done so through various electronic means 2 and this ignores the added convenience that current voters might find with e-voting. A consultation paper from the Office of the e-Envoy on electronic democracy also makes the case for voter convenience as a primary justification for the implementation of e-voting. 3 While many of the assumptions on which enhanced turnout through e-voting are based are essentially contestable, 4 the argument that any implementation of e-voting must make it easier, not harder, for people to vote is difficult to resist. For e-voting to enhance the electoral process it must correspond with the way other day-to-day activities are undertaken and be more, not less, convenient than the current system of voting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe European Union and e-Voting
Subtitle of host publicationAddressing the European Parliament's Internet Voting Challenge
EditorsAlexander H. Trechsel, Fernando Mendez
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780203391044
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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