Put this in the very long list of horrible ideas suggested by Australian politicians that should never ever be implemented.
The Australian Sex Party’s leader Fiona Patten is calling for the federal government to have the same-sex plebiscite held online, saying it is cheaper and claiming that it is now possible thanks to “modern technology and current leaps in cyber security.”
“Countries like Estonia have successfully moved to complete internet voting where countries like the UK have been trialling it at a local government level,” Ms Patten argues, noting that she recently completed a trip to investigate electronic voting with the Victorian Parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee.
It should be noted that the Australian Sex Party’s position on the plebiscite is to have it scrapped and have it voted by the federal Parliament. However, if the Government manages somehow to hold the plebiscite, then they want it to be held online.
“It’s secure and cost effective. It doesn’t mean we still won’t have a vigorous, and in my opinion damaging, campaign on the issue of marriage equality, but what it will mean is that the Australian taxpayers aren’t slugged several hundred million dollars to do it,” Ms Patten continued in a press release.
“It will also enable as many people as possible to have their say on the issue. I think it is safe to say that the majority of people do not think the plebiscite is necessary so let’s make it as easy as possible for them to take part.”
Why online voting is (still) bad
Online voting (and electronic voting) is terrible compared to the physically voting. I could go on and on and on about why online and electronic voting is a bad idea – or I could just simply post a video from Computerphile and Tom Scott.
Put simply, the issue with online and electronic voting is all about trust. Who do you trust to count your votes: a human or a machine? The current system we have now never trusts any one human to count the votes. Hence, each side appoints scrutineers to witness the count and inspect/challenge any ballot papers; and have recounts to ensure it is accurate.
When using online voting (or some forms of electronic voting), you are putting absolute trust on a computer that it will count the votes accurately – without verifying that the system should be trusted.