This article is available also in spanish here
Electronic voting, a reality that has little to do with virtual reality
My list

Author | Jaime RamosThe way in which we choose our political representatives has hardly varied in the last few decades. A vote is still a vote. Practically all around the world, citizens go to their public centre to vote, they choose between ballot papers or they mark a series of options on these, they insert them into an envelope and deposit them in a ballot box.This liturgy forms part of the very essence of democracy. Technology has barely managed to change the details of this human ritual. And that is not because there are no electronic solutions available and capable of offering guaranteed transparency.The first technologies to prove that electronic voting was possible, emerged in the 1960s. They were optical scan voting systems or making use of perforated ballot papers. Since then, other methods have been developed to replace the original system, preserving the guarantees thereof.

How many types of electronic voting systems exist?

Pantalla para voto electrónicoMore recently, various tests have been conducted relating to new technological developments in real elections. The main problem is the lack of public involvement, which means that electronic voting only takes place in a handful of countries worldwide.Only Brazil, Estonia, India and Venezuela use electronic voting systems in their general elections. In Canada, the United States, Argentina and Peru, it is used to a certain degree, but not in all areas. For example, 7.7% of the votes recorded in the US in 1996 were via some form of electronic voting system. These systems can be grouped together into three types of technologies:
  • Optical scan electronic voting system.
  • Direct electronic recording systems.
  • Online voting.
Why is electronic voting not used in a large part of the world?Despite only a few countries having a fully installed electronic voting system, it has been tested in a large variety of points across the globe. As illustrated, it was not successful in all of them. One of the reasons is lack of trust in the systems.Part of this may be due to innocent technical faults, such as the 4,438 votes that were lost in the US presidency elections in North Carolina in 2004. Apparently, the system stopped counting as it exceeded the device’s memory capacity.Scepticism is also a factor given the possibility of the elections being manipulated. In other words, being hacked. While defenders of electronic voting argue that there are already incorruptible verification systems, others do not think it is that simple.The events that took place during the US presidential elections, when 25 votes caused controversy in Florida, revealed many disadvantages. After this, a study by the Association for Computing Machinery revealed that in order for the result of these elections to have changed, 2 votes per precinct would need to have been changed.A double-edged voteIt is an issue that will continue to cause controversy in the coming decades. However, there are places where public administrations are congratulating themselves for having made this technological leap such as the case of Estonia. Its e-governance concept has led to 44% of the population voting electronically, and 99% of the public services being available 24 hours per day online. The administration calculates that it has saved the exorbitant figure of 1,407 years of work.The truth is that electronic voting entails a technical complexity that is met with reticence in most countries. Many even doubt that it is possible to one day resolve all the threats that may arise with regard to voting security. As transparency and trust are essential pillars of a democratic structure, overcoming these fears may not be as simple as proving that the reliability of electronic voting is comparable with paper voting.Images | iStock/abluecup, iStock/lisafx

Related content
Proprietary or open-source software? Arguments in favor and against
Proprietary or open-source software? Arguments in favor and against
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x01: Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x01: Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Smart AMB: can data lead us to deliver better urban services?
Smart AMB: can data lead us to deliver better urban services?
A New Space For Mayors. Bloomberg to Fund Harvard Center for Cities
A New Space For Mayors. Bloomberg to Fund Harvard Center for Cities
Barcelona Provincial Council: this is how a smart region works
Barcelona Provincial Council: this is how a smart region works
PODCAST 1x01 - Are our cities more resilient than ever?
PODCAST 1x01 - Are our cities more resilient than ever?
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Barcelona’s strategy to drive the 2030 Agenda in the city
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: cities become smarter by forming smart regions
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Pablo Soto, regional representative of Transparency and Participation in Madrid: “Technology should be used to enhance institutions”
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
Metropolitan governance: extending municipal governments as a response to new urban challenges
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
How to go from being a town to a Smart Town
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
The G20 creates the Global Smart Cities Alliance to establish universal norms and guidelines for the implementation of technology
Citizens at the heart of smart cities
Citizens at the heart of smart cities
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Paul Duan, co-founder and President of Bayes Impact: “We should trust in the power of the multitude”
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
Open government and citizen participation: a journey through history - Infographic
How and why do cities die?
How and why do cities die?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
Digital natives, technological illiterates?
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
New COVID-19 outbreaks: this is what the hammer and the dance will be like
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Citizens policing our streets: is it lawful to report the inappropriate use of cities?
Smart cities that failed along the way
Smart cities that failed along the way
Can technology foster democracy?
Can technology foster democracy?
Open data: how can they improve citizen engagement and the economy?
Open data: how can they improve citizen engagement and the economy?
Cities are for people: towards a new conception of public spaces
Cities are for people: towards a new conception of public spaces
Electronic voting, a reality that has little to do with virtual reality
Electronic voting, a reality that has little to do with virtual reality
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
Welcome to the Smart City Live!
How cities are using collective intelligence to fight the coronavirus
How cities are using collective intelligence to fight the coronavirus
What makes a city attractive to talent?
What makes a city attractive to talent?
Imec: Open digital twin framework
Imec: Open digital twin framework
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
x-tention: Towards post covid-19 smart tourism
Arca: Wave control for better health
Arca: Wave control for better health
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
Smart Buildings: Enabling reliability and resilience for a better future
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
DMAP: Unlocking the power of transportation analytics
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
These were the urban utopias that preceded us - Infographic
Medellín: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
Medellín: data and infrastructures in contrast to its troubled past
Can citizens design their own streets?
Can citizens design their own streets?
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
Live
2030 Agenda and Urban Agenda for Catalonia: from Strategy into Practice
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
How smart cities are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
From Crisis to Opportunity: Transforming European Cities in the COVID Era
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Cities as Testbeds for Innovation
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
Smart Cities Germany – an emerging market for urban technologies providers
CIOs as linking pins: bridging IT and European digital policy for smart cities
Live
CIOs as linking pins: bridging IT and European digital policy for smart cities
Barcelona Smart Region: innovative projects to improve connectivity and sustainability
Barcelona Smart Region: innovative projects to improve connectivity and sustainability
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Barcelona Smart Region: providing smart services for citizens
Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole: The New Smart Place
Live
Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole: The New Smart Place
City-states never disappeared: Hamburg, Hong Kong, Singapore
City-states never disappeared: Hamburg, Hong Kong, Singapore
G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance – Launching the Policy Roadmap
G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance – Launching the Policy Roadmap
Reinventing Cities with Technology after COVID-19 – Unpacking ideas from Japan
Reinventing Cities with Technology after COVID-19 – Unpacking ideas from Japan
AdvanGrid: Staying ahead in the energy transition
AdvanGrid: Staying ahead in the energy transition
Neareo: Powering QR codes
Neareo: Powering QR codes
Cities around the world coordinate to combat new pandemics: that is how they want to win the battle
Cities around the world coordinate to combat new pandemics: that is how they want to win the battle
Recommended profiles for you
Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
rl
ricardo lazo
gobierno regional
supervisor/asesor
Jean Mattos Duarte
Jean Mattos Duarte
Belo Horizonte City Hall
Deputy Secretary of Planning, Budget and Management
Orlando Murillo
Orlando Murillo
Instituto Costarricense de Ciudades inteligentes
Gerente
Rafael Pérez Colón
Rafael Pérez Colón
HisKēn Ventures S.L.
Co-Founder & CEO
IP
Inessa Polishchuk
St.Petersburg Economic Committee
International
Gildo Seisdedos
Gildo Seisdedos
IE Business School
Professor
GJ
Guillermo Jimenez Garcia
Smart Government Consultory
Socio-Director
pipin firdaus
pipin firdaus
Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia
IT Staff
nastaran najdaghi
nastaran najdaghi
municipality
head of urban regeneration department
Xabi Murua
Xabi Murua
Osoigo.com
Cofounder & COO
HP
Herbert Pajuelo Bel
Thomas Greg
Account Manager
Sascha Thorn
Sascha Thorn
Fira Barcelona Germany
Int. Key Account Manager Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Juan Manuel Villalba
Juan Manuel Villalba
Mendoza BITS
Especialista en Ciudades
Mark Wheeler
Mark Wheeler
City of Philadelphia Office of Innovation and Technology
Chief Information Officer for City of Philadelphia and director of Innovation and Technology
LP
Luisa Pinto Rodriguez
Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan
Technical Office
bussmann sophie
bussmann sophie
C/Can
Director, Africa & Europe
fk
fuminori kobayashi
esrijapan
partner development
RR
Richard Rodríguez
Intendencia de Flores
Desarrollo
Teddy Sukardi tedsuka
Teddy Sukardi tedsuka
Ask Consulting
Consultant
Christiaan Elings
Christiaan Elings
Royal HaskoningDHV
Senior consultant

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$