Egyptian government to introduce e-voting system, ensure future allegations of fraud
I’ve previously praised Estonia’s internet voting system, not so much for the concept (unnecessary) , but their execution. Internet voting is fraught with challenges and Estonia has done an admirable job of creating a system that addresses them. But it’s not easy to administer an e-voting system; Estonia had to rewrite laws and spend considerable effort to make theirs work. So I got a little scared today when I read that Egypt was planning on introducing an electronic voting system for their upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
Electronic voting can mean both internet voting, or simply automated machines; it’s not clear what they are referring to here. The mention of Egyptians overseas voting leads me to believe they are talking about internet voting, which would be a disaster. This could, of course, simply mean automated voting, which would be slightly less of a disaster. Indonesia, the Philippines and India are all examples of non-Western democracies that have implemented automated voting; the success of such programs is subjective, but generally acknowledged. All of those processes, however, took considerable time to develop (not five months!). While I have heard that India was advising Egypt on election administration, I find it hard to believe they would recommend moving to this system so quickly.
This leads me to believe they may actually be thinking about internet voting. This actually might be better than an automated system, as it would not require buying thousands of machines (and training people how to use them). Internet voting, however, is far from secure. I would also think a high profile election like Egypt’s would attract top hacker talent – some political, some bored teenagers – from around the world. So don’t’ be surprised if internet votes make Ruby the next president of Egypt.