Voting in the Dark Ages

datePosted on 22:35, September 20th, 2010 by Anita

The voting papers arrived at my house over the weekend and present something of a dilemma. One member of our household is in the UK for the election; he still, not unreasonably, wants to exercise his vote. After ringing the assistance number on my voting paper I was told that the only possible legal way for him to vote is for me to mail or courier his papers to him, then he should fill them out and mail them back.

It is, apparently, impossible to cast any sort of vote in local body elections using faxes, scans, emails, or any other new fangled contraption, or in fact any other means to allow overseas voting. In central government elections overseas voting is entirely permitted and supported.

New Zealand Post lists international mail as 3-10 working days, so it’s impossible to be sure he could actually vote if I did mail them to him. My cheapest option is “International Economy Courier” (2-6 working days) at $30 to get the papers to him, then he’d have to courier them back presumably at a similar cost.

So, three questions:

1) What would be wrong with allowing faxed, scan-and-emailed or election office supported overseas voting in local body elections?

2) Is it reasonable that voting in our local body elections should cost someone ~$60?

3) Doesn’t this provide a rather strong incentive for some illegal (but entirely ethical IMO) voting practices in households like mine?

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3 Responses to “Voting in the Dark Ages”

  1. r0b on September 20th, 2010 at 23:12

    Great to see you back Anita. I hope you are well, and it’s back for good this time?

    Sooner we get elections on line the better. But – the code needs to be open source and verifiable. No American style black box “voting machine” tactics here please!

  2. Monkey Boy on September 21st, 2010 at 18:58

    It gladdens my heart to watch a beautiful woman in moral turpitude, who knows where it might lead? Nip your evil impulses in the bud now Anita, before you find yourself in an inescapable gossamer web of deceit.

  3. Ari on September 30th, 2010 at 14:50

    The issue with faxes and email are that they’re non-anonymous, (ie. it’s probably possible to demonstrate that you’ve sent in a vote for candidate X) so they could be used for vote-selling or intimidation.

    Direct online voting IS anonymous, so long as the code not used for security is open-source and your vote’s not intercepted, so it requires a robust security system and for end-users to be vigilant about their general internet security. It’s the sort of thing that needs to be implemented for the general election first.

    Personally, I’m not sure why we can’t just have special votes for people overseas for the local authority elections.

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