American democracy is not ready for that

Australians will vote in the country’s federal elections this weekend. The process will most likely be smooth, transparent, and will be cut by countless civic-minded barbecues known as Squeeze the sausage. This is generally the case in Australia, but for those living in New South Wales, it was not so late last year.

The state has encouraged a significant number of voters to switch to an online voting system called iVote. In December, it melted so much that the New South Wales Electoral Commission not only stopped using it, but also asked the court to annul the results of three city council elections. It was a shameful failure for e-voting.

More than 650,000 online votes were cast, which is probably a world record, says Vanessa Teague, a professor of election security at the Australian National University. Teig warned governments about this vulnerabilities years of e-voting, as cyber security researchers have done in the United States, where systems such as iVote are expanding. at least nine states.

Allowing people to vote at home with the push of a button is an attractive idea, especially in the United States, where turnout is high. Problem: American Association for the Advancement of Science saysis that there is “no evidence that any Internet voting technology is safe or secure in the foreseeable future. To date, all research has shown the opposite.”

In Australia, where the electoral system is highly trusted and run by non-partisan officials, the scandal has more or less erupted. But none of this is true in many US jurisdictions. If such a thing happens here, it will most likely ignite an endless legal battle, ruining the little trust left in our democracy.

In:Internet voting It seems like an obvious extension of the smartphone age, an easy way to reach the masses of people who have the right to vote but do not vote.

The 2020 US presidential election took place highest The turnout of the 21st century, but 77 million people – about a third of 18-year-olds – or about a third of the population – did not vote. In: Intermediate termsparticipation is never broken 50 percent. In local elections, it usually hovers around 15 percent. This is a democratic crisis, supporters of mobile voting see an opportunity.

Ինտերնետ If the internet is secure enough for us to transfer money, file our taxes և Zoom in with our therapistsWhy can’t we use it for voting? In fact, we can do it. At least 25 states to let Ballots must be returned via email or web portal, mostly military և foreign votersand have Internet voting pilot programs was treated In more than 20 elections in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia. Recently a member of the council in Washington, presented by: A mobile voting bill that he says will help attract older voters, people with disabilities or limited access to transit.

However, these experiments have so far been small. E-voting in the state pilot program represented less than 0.2 percent of the total ballots cast in 2020. Australia has learned what can happen when most people try to use the online system.

Voting is mandatory in Australia և Because of the epidemic, many people chose to use iVote rather than present themselves in person. The New South Wales system was poorly prepared for the resulting traffic. Teague estimates that 10,000 users have been barred from registering for online voting or digital voting.

The state election commission later used a simulation to calculate that the three city-council race could be reversed by disqualified e-voters. Teague told me that this was “a very conservative assessment.” His own analysis, which used approximately 1,000 times more simulations, revealed 39 races whose results could be affected. But without a trace of paper, there is no way to know for sure.

The side damage was significant. Judge in March agreed throw out the results of three races և order to repeat. It will cost the state roughly $ 350,000: նոր At least $ 35,000 in legal fees to manage new races. The council will also have to to compensate candidates for the cost of running again. The candidates, in turn, are not looking forward to another tedious campaign.

And these were just the consequences of what Tig called the “least bad thing” that could happen during Internet voting.

“IVote came down, everyone knew it was broken, in fact quite a number of people were able to find their way to the polls and vote on paper,” he told me. Moreover, in the lawsuit, no one questioned the veracity of the votes counted before the system’s failure, “although the iVote system does not say that these votes are accurate.”

If that happened then we would all be in for a rude awakening. The hostile group – Russia, Iran, QAnon – can repeat what happened to iVote and put pressure on the voting portal at the last moment. What happens in that case? brand new elections. Transformation only for affected voters (whoever we decide they may be).

Either the attacker could have gone a more secretive way, either by flipping through a small but decisive number of ballots, or by preventing them from being presented in the first place. How could voters be sure that their votes were counted?

Bad actors would not even have to break the system to create chaos. They could just claim that they did, և offer some verified screenshots to make it look real. Consider the conspiracy theories that were easily denied, which were spread after the 2020 elections – 26 million. more votes were cast than there were registered voters that: 40,000 ballots From China to Arizona, those Italian military satellites were stuffed into ballot boxes The sounds of an overturned car to Joe Biden. As disinformation campaigns continue, this will be a slight rise. If it were especially for close elections, like the Iowa House of Representatives race that the fair won six votes in 2020, it would be easier.

Destroying e-voting is not a joy, it can be convenient, effective, and very useful for those who struggle to get to the polls in person or to navigate. But for now, e-voting is more of a problem than a solution. Americans have very little faith in losing their democracy.

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