Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Elections in most major  democracies use paper ballots,  

  • which require an army of people to count the  votes. This laborious and time-consuming process  

  • often results in a delay in declaringwinner. If we can use the internet for  

  • important services such as healthcare  and banking, why don't we vote online?

  • The concept of internet voting first  gained traction during the 2000 U.S.  

  • presidential election when crucial  election results in Florida were disputed,  

  • leading to a recount and delay in declaring the  outcome of the contest.

  • "Just the most bizarre thing I've ever heard.

  • How it could be given to one, taken back and now, 'oh we're not sure again'."

  • Problems included voters' confusion at the design of the ballot paper,

  • as well as faulty punch card voting machines. At the time,

  • internet adoption was rapidly gaining pace and there were growing calls

  • for it to replace America's aging election infrastructure.

  • While 32 states in the U.S. have experimented  with some form of internet voting, this has  

  • been mostly limited to a small sub-set of voters  such as military personnel and overseas citizens.

  • However, one country has embraced the use  of technology in its elections. In 2005,  

  • Estonia became the first country in the world to  hold nation-wide elections using internet voting.

  • Its system, known as i-voting, allows  voters to cast their ballot from anywhere  

  • in the world with an internet connectionDuring a designated early voting period,  

  • the voter logs onto the system using an  Identification-card or Mobile-ID to cast a ballot.

  • To maintain secrecy, the voter's  identity is removed from the  

  • ballot before it reaches the National  Electoral Commission for counting,  

  • and voters change their vote as many times  as they want before the advanced polling  

  • deadline, with each updated ballot  automatically canceling the last.

  • On election day, voters may choose  to override their online vote by  

  • casting a paper ballot at a polling station.  

  • According to the United Nations and the  European Convention on Human Rights,  

  • voter secrecy is one of the many essential elements of a democracy.  

  • Votes also need to be accurate and verifiable  to ensure that the system can be trusted.

  • Voting in many early modern  democracies took place openly,  

  • permitting swift counting and public verification,  

  • but also allowing electors to be bribed or  bullied into favoring a certain candidate.

  • Reformers across the globe lobbied  for the adoption of secret ballots  

  • through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,  

  • in order to ensure that voters could make  their choice free from the fear of reprisals.

  • Although technological innovations have led some of the world's

  • most populous democraciesincluding India, Brazil and the U.S.,  

  • to use computerized vote-counting  or vote-casting machines,  

  • these have generally been kept offline and  haven't always delivered instantaneous results.

  • Critics of online voting believe that  cybersecurity remains a major concern  

  • and that current technologies are unable  to ensure the integrity of elections.

  • Malicious actors may be able to attack and  

  • undermine an election conducted online  to their advantage, often undetected.

  • An independent report on Estonia's i-Voting  system by cybersecurity experts in 2014  

  • found 'staggering gaps' in  the system's architecture  

  • at the time, which left it open to  cyberattacks from foreign powers.

  • Besides being vulnerable to hacking, online  elections can't be audited effectively,  

  • unlike physical ballots, which  leave a literal paper trail. While  

  • cyber attackers could potentially delete  millions of ballots from their bedroom,  

  • stealing the same number of paper ballots would  be much more difficult without someone noticing.

  • The geographical distribution of polling stations  and constituencies also distributes the risk,  

  • while securely printed and marked  paper is hard to duplicate or  

  • alter. Votes can be checked and  recounted by multiple people,  

  • and the counting process itself can  be watched by many pairs of eyes

  • This is why several groups of computer scientists   

  • have argued against internet voting

  • or said it should only be used in parallel  with a paper system for verification.

  • In 2015, online voting in the Australian  state of New South Wales was paused  

  • following concerns there was a 'major  vulnerability' in an internet voting system  

  • used for an election that could have  compromised 66,000 electronic votes.

  • Although France adopted internet voting for certain   

  • expatriates in 2012, the scheme was halted

  • five years later due to cybersecurity concerns. Blockchain technology has been touted as  

  • a potential solution to these fears, but  cybersecurity experts remain unconvinced.

  • Start-up company, Voatz, has trialed its  blockchain technology in a few elections,  

  • including the 2018 general election  in West Virginia, with mixed results

  • But this hasn't dampened interest in the  feasibility of online elections in the U.S.,  

  • especially during a pandemic.

  • In February 2020, a district election in  the Seattle area became the first to allow  

  • each of its 1.2 million eligible voters  to cast a ballot through their smartphones.  

  • More than 94% of the ballots returned were  completed electronically and voter turnout  

  • almost doubled from the previous election. Since 2007, Estonia's I-voting system has  

  • seen a steady increase in the ballots cast over the internet for parliamentary elections.  

  • In 2019 there was a 40% increase in  online votes from the previous poll

  • However, this hasn't led to  an increase in voter turnout.

  • 44% of Estonians now use i-votingand according to the government,  

  • i-voting saves over 11,000  working days per election.  

  • A study also found that i-voting is 50%  cheaper than traditional paper voting.

  • But it's important to remember that there are  still more than three and a half billion people,  

  • nearly half of the global population, who  are not yet connected to the internet,  

  • so online voting may not be possible  in many countries for some time

  • An election is a uniquely  difficult process to deliver  

  • under the pressure of high expectationslimited budgets and a hard deadline.

  • According to some, there is  no technology yet available  

  • that can meet the challenges of  delivering elections safely via the internet.

  • Although many aspects of  our lives have shifted online,  

  • it may be a while before we can vote there too.

  • Hi guys, thanks for watching our video.

  • Before you go we'd love for you to subscribe to the channel

  • and comment below the video to let us know whether you think

  • internet voting is a good idea. We'll see you next time.

Elections in most major  democracies use paper ballots,  

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 voting online paper election ballot cybersecurity

Why can't we vote online? | CNBC Explains

  • 10 2
    Summer posted on 2020/11/14
Video vocabulary