In the era of technology and digitalization, electronic voting and online voting systems have emerged as a seemingly efficient and modern option to carry out electoral processes. However, despite their potential advantages, a notable distrust of these systems persists in many parts of the world. This distrust stems from several factors ranging from issues of security and transparency to broader concerns about the integrity of the democratic process. Below, we will explore why this mistrust exists regarding online voting systems.
One of the main arguments supporting distrust in online voting systems is concern about security. Electronic systems are susceptible to cyber-attacks and hackers, which could compromise the integrity of election results. The potential for malicious actors to manipulate votes or access sensitive voter information has raised substantial concerns.
Transparency is a fundamental pillar of any democratic electoral process. However, online voting systems often lack the transparency needed to ensure that every vote is counted accurately. Opacity in the internal workings of these systems makes it difficult for voters and outside observers to understand how votes are recorded and counted, which can lead to suspicion and distrust.
The complexity of the technology used in electronic voting systems can be overwhelming for voters and election staff. Lack of understanding of how these systems operate can lead to unintentional errors, which could result in votes being misrecorded or even deleted. This lack of clarity contributes to the belief that results can be altered without voters realizing it.
Unlike traditional paper voting systems, where there is a physical record of each vote cast, many electronic systems do not have a “paper footprint” to back up the results. This means that in case of discrepancies or doubts, it is difficult to independently verify the results. The absence of a paper trail increases skepticism about the accuracy of the counts.
The adoption of electronic voting systems involves a significant change compared to traditional methods. This transition can generate resistance in those who are accustomed to conventional processes. Lack of familiarity with technology and fear of the unknown can contribute to distrust of electronic voting systems.
In many cases, electronic voting systems are developed and managed by private companies or third-party providers. This raises questions about who has access to and control over the electoral process. Reliance on third parties for an essential component of democracy can raise concerns about possible outside influences or commercial interests that could affect outcomes.
In short, distrust in electronic voting systems stems from a combination of concerns about security, transparency, technological complexity, lack of a paper trail, resistance to change, and dependence on third parties. Although these systems offer the promise of efficiency and modernization, it is essential to comprehensively address these concerns to build the necessary trust in the integrity of electoral processes. Continued research, development and the implementation of strong safeguards are essential to ensure that technology improves and strengthens democracy rather than undermines it.