Canada backs off from Internet voting, for now, while California legislature pushes it forward


The Canadian agency charged with conducting national elections has decided against a planned pilot of Internet electoral voting before the 2015 general election due to budget cuts, Canadian media has reported.

A report from the agency, Elections Canada, says that it hasn't ruled out Internet voting, however, and that it "will continue to monitor such trials and developments in other jurisdictions to evaluate the feasibility of undertaking an I-voting project."

The California Assembly, meanwhile, is pressing forward with the possibility of Internet voting, with the Elections Committee approving on April 30 in a 4-3 vote a bill (AB 19) sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that would establish an Internet voting pilot program. California Voter Foundation President Kim Alexander says in her blog that the committee approved the bill despite opposition from Committee Chairman Paul Fong (D-San Jose) and the Republican ranking member, Tim Donnelly (Hesperia).

Internet voting enjoys a high rate of opposition among information technology experts, including officials from the Homeland Security Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

White hat hackers from the University of Michigan famously broke into an online voting system the city of Washington, D.C. had planned to use to count the ballots of overseas voters during the November 2010 election, alerting officials to the fact of the compromise by having the vote confirmation screen play the University of Michigan fight song after 15 seconds. (Even then, D.C. officials only found out about the song after someone on a mailing list monitored by the city asked, "does anyone know what tune they play for successful voters?")

For more:
- go to the Elections Canada report
- go to the text of AB 19 and committee analysis of the bill

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