Internet Voting in Estonia
I have a new post over at ElectionGuide.org detailing the upcoming election in Estonia. It’s a basic rundown of the election that discusses, among other things, Estonia’s innovative Internet voting system. I think it’s a fair question to ask if anybody really needs internet voting, and if the potential costs are really worth anything gained. Regardless of the answer to that, I believe Estonia has done an impressive job of making their system as secure and safe as can be. Take, for example, their solution to the problem of vote buying. The privacy of a voting booth, if executed correctly, can destroy much of the potential for vote buying. This is because it makes it difficult for a vote-buyer to verify how a ballot was actually cast. (Yes there are ways around this, that’s why I said “if executed correctly”). This protection would be lost with the ability to vote from anywhere at anytime. Estonia, however, has found a solution to this.
To address this problem, Estonian officials came up with an innovative solution: an elector can cast as many internet votes as they like in the allotted timeframe, but only the last vote will count. In addition, an elector may still cast a paper ballot on election day, which will void all previous votes cast through the internet. This setup destroys the incentive for a vote buyer to purchase a vote, as they have no guarantee that the voter cannot simply change it at a later time
I would also add that this goes above and beyond the state of Washington, which votes entirely by mail, and is theoretically subject to the same level of vote buying.