It’s finally happening. An entire municipality will utilize online-only voting in the next election with all balloting to be run via Scytl, the tech company based in Barcelona, Spain.
The controversial rollout is being deployed not in the U.S., where Scytl two years ago acquired 100 percent of SOE Software, the leading software provider of election management solutions in the United States. The online-only vote will take place Oct. 27 in Canada, when Leamington, Ontario, will become the first Canadian municipality to cast all ballots via an Internet-only voting process.
Every registered voter in Leamington, with a population of about 17,000, must cast ballots through mobile devices or computer.
The municipality’s website says “this sole method of voting follows Council’s strategic plan to be environmentally friendly and to embrace technology.”
“This cost effective type of voting will also address accessible voters’ issues,” said the site.
Canada’s CBC News reported the voting will be run with systems from Scytl.
Feedback on the news site expressed nearly universal concern about Internet security. Nearly all reader comments opposed the idea of online-only voting.
One reader wrote: “Putting an election online is fraud waiting to happen. It is a dare, to every criminal, and every mere tinkerer, anywhere in the word, to disrupt, modify, even cancel the results.”
Another warned: “He who controls the voting technology can decide the results. Stick with paper.”
“One giant step backwards for democracy,” wrote another commenter.
The U.S. may not be too far from Internet voting. In January, President Obama’s special commission on election reform recommended future electronic voting, even suggesting tablet computers, such as iPads, be used to cast votes, as WND exclusively reported.
Obama’s 10-person Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its recommendations a 99-page document available online.
Much of the media coverage of the commission’s conclusions focused on a summary of key recommendations provided by the White House.
The recommendations are:
- Modernization of the registration process through continued expansion of online voter registration and expanded state collaboration in improving the accuracy of voter lists;
- Measures to improve access to the polls through expansion of the period for voting before the traditional Election Day and through the selection of suitable, well-equipped polling place facilities, such as schools;
- State-of-the-art techniques to assure efficient management of polling places;
- Reforms of the standard-setting and certification process for new voting technology to address soon-to-be antiquated voting machines and to encourage innovation and the adoption of widely available off-the-shelf technologies.
However, a WND review of the commission’s full paper finds far more extensive recommendations for electronic voting.
The document states that software-only products “can be integrated with off-the-shelf commercial hardware components such as computers, laptops, tablets, scanners, printers, and even machine-readable code scanners and signature pad products.”
“Tablet computers such as iPads are common components of these new technologies. They can be integrated into the check-in, voting, and verification processes in the polling place.”
The commission called attention to new technologies that allow voters to “pre-fill” sample ballots at home that can be later scanned at the polling place.
The panel addressed concerns that such technologies can be hacked.
The commission stated: “The fact that a tablet or off-the-shelf computer can be hacked or can break down does not mean such technology is inherently less secure than existing ballot marking methods if proper precautions are taken.”
The concept of electronic voting is already being tested.
WND reported in 2012 that Scytl announced the successful implementation of technology that allows ballots to be cast using Google and Apple smartphones and tablet computers.
Obama’s panel was chaired by Robert F. Bauer, the president’s personal attorney who served as White House counsel until 2011.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.