I am pleased to announce that Jordi Barrat, professor of constitutional law at the Rovira i Virgili University (Spain) and renowned specialist of e-voting joins electoralpractice.
Jordi is the author of several studies on the compliance of e-voting systems with legal instruments, namely the Recommendation of the Council of Europe Rec(2004)11 and has extensive experience with e-voting systems in Europe and Latin America. Recent work includes a collaboration with IFES to evaluate the internet voting system used in Norway. More about Jordi’s activities and publications can be found here: cv_barrat.
I am thrilled to welcome Jordi on electoralpractice and look forward to his contributions which will shed light on the legal dimension of the use of ICT in electoral practice. Welcome Jordi!
The Council of Europe’s Recomendation Rec2004(11): a brief recapitulation
The Recommendation Rec(2004)11 of the Council of Europe on legal, operational and technical standards on e-voting already has almost a decade of life. Its broad scope encompasses both internet voting procedures and local voting machines. Although e-voting mechanisms are still depicted as modern and innovative solutions, it would be better to assume that we are dealing with a mature technology that has been implemented in several countries since at least the nineties. Belgium or Netherlands started using it in that decade, the 1995 Catalan elections included an e-voting pilot as the first Spanish experience, and France uses voting machines since 2003. Obviously each country may provide its own successful or negative experience (e.g. Ireland, Germany), but the overall scenario is consolidated and the best evidence can be found in the fact that nowadays we are already talking about a second generation of e-voting procedures. The technical, social and legal debates have been evolving identifying new analytical patterns. Continue reading
English: A portable Tableau forensic write-blocker attached to a hard disk drive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A recently published virtual issue on election fraud and electoral integrity [Ines Levin and Michael Alvarez Publishers] assembles recent research on the use of mathematical methods to detect fraud in elections. The papers are made available for free download during a limited time. Under the appealing title of “election forensics” the four papers included in the first part of the virtual issue deal with the recent use of methods based on mathematical laws such as Benford Law to search for “patterns that deviate from an expected distribution” of figures. Such deviations are considered to be indicators of possible errors or manipulations of election results. Continue reading
Evaluating the past, preparing the future
Can e-voting increase electoral participation? (Photo credit: European Parliament)
Internet voting continues to be the driving force in electoral practice digitization. Since May 2006 when the federal Government (federal Council) published its second report on internet voting recommending its gradual introduction, trials with binding results have taken place uninterruptedly. In 2012 alone Internet voting was used 48 times. Continue reading
Ready for the next departure ?
IC2000 train arriving in Zürich (Photo credit: Daniel Sparing)
E-collecting is the next step in the digitization process of political rights. It will follow the successful introduction of e-voting and e-election. That’s what the federal Council said in its second report on e-voting in May 2006. But it also said that the use of the digital signature must be sufficiently widespread before such a project is launched. As this was not the case up to now, e-collecting was not an issue until recently. Continue reading
Got your SuissID?
Image La Poste Suisse
Internet-based platforms allowing for C2G (citizen to government) transactions, such as internet voting or other services proposed by online governmental portals, must be able to correctly identify the citizen who tries to conclude the transaction. That’s the identification and authentication problem. Continue reading
Better understanding the system
Transparency is becoming an increasingly important issue for the public and the electoral authorities. Recent federal and cantonal laws on transparency of the activities of the administrations, as well as a certain degree of suspition towards internet voting, in some small but influential circles (IT professionals) have put transparency on the table. So, how transparent will the use of technology in electoral practice going to be in 2013? A look into the crystal ball shows some interesting trends. Continue reading
A data standard for Swiss political rights
Digital handling of information requires standardized data. This is particularly necessary if data from different sources are to be collated, compared, merged and so on. In a Confederation of States like Switzerland where Cantons (States) enjoy important powers in the field of political rights so that electoral practice and its underlying data varies from Canton to Canton (in decentralized Cantons, even from a Commune to another), standards are especially important. Continue reading
Striking a balance between prohibition and liberalization of internet voting
Balance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nothing summarizes better the contradictory feelings towards introducing internet voting than developments in Canton Vaud. A few years ago a motion signed by cantonal MPs from almost all political parties asked for prohibition of internet voting in the canton. Later the motion was transformed into a postulate which is less binding (for a summary see last month’s report of the ad hoc parliamentary commission on some modifications in the cantonal law on political rights). Continue reading
OSCE/ODIHR Assessment of the 2011 Federal Elections
On January 30, 2012 the OSCE/ODIHR, published its election assessment mission report on the federal elections that took place on October 23, 2011. The report highlighted the vitality of the Swiss democracy and underlined the impact of decentralization on regional variations in electoral practice. ODIHR proposed some measures to harmonize practices. Almost half of the proposals relate to internet voting, which was used, for the first time in a federal election, by four cantons. Continue reading
When launching this blog one of the big questions I was faced to was – where to start? Which event do I want to highlight as THE number one post? Electronic information processing is increasingly present in the Swiss electoral practice (hence the underlined “el” in the title of this blog). So, do I start with Internet voting – the flagship project, or e-collecting – the next big challenge? Do I want to underline digital identification – which holds one of the keys to developments in this field, or the new quest for transparency ? The first post has to be an actual story and a comprehensive and representative one. Ideally it should also give a taste of posts to come. Continue reading