Thursday, August 30, 2018

Online elections cannot be trusted

Local body elections are next year. And sadly, a group of councils are insisting on running unsafe, online votes:

Nine local bodies should know by Christmas whether online voting can be trialled in their elections next year.

The councils are seeking proposals from providers but the big question is whether legislation will be passed in time for the October 2019 poll.

The nine hope to jointly trial online voting alongside the traditional postal poll, with time tight to agree on a system without knowing exactly when Parliament would give the OK.


Auckland Council is joined by Gisborne District, Hamilton City, Matamata-Piako District, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Wellington cities along with the Marlborough and Selwyn District Councils.

If they continue with this plan, the net result will be that the election "results" in those areas simply cannot be trusted, because there is simply no safe way to run an online poll. Ballot secrecy directly contradicts security, while the fact that voting will happen in a remote location allows both credential harvesting and direct intimidation (oh, plus the spies want the system to be backdoored and vulnerable to anyone who wants to manipulate the vote). None of that matters for a Stuff poll, but when we're talking about who runs our towns and cities - and potentially our country - the risks are simply too great. Our democracy is too important to be left to such insecure methods. We should insist on paper ballots, and vote out any councillor who supports this madness.