[ubuntu-za] eVotes for 2014

Dr. Johan P. Prinsloo biocura at telkomsa.net
Tue Apr 28 10:24:30 BST 2009

Surely Linux is best equipped for this task in terms of stability,
safety, etc? Perhaps this is a place where Ubuntu can really establish
itself, particulalry seeing that it is a South African who started it,
it's open source, etc, etc, etc. Perhaps Mark Schuttleworth would be
interested in offering Ubuntu services for something like this.

eVotes for 2014?
28/04/2009 08:55  - (SA) 
Chris Moerdyk
Why on earth do we still elect governments by having purple ink slopped
on our thumbs and putting a cross on a piece of paper?
Just how low-tech can you get?
Don't get me wrong, I just loved standing in the voting queue last week
chatting to strangers as though they were long lost-friends. And I think
that on the whole the IEC did an outstanding job on election day.
But, I must say I felt really sorry for those people who had to hang
about until three o'clock in the morning to wait for ballot papers that
didn't pitch and especially for those who couldn't vote at all because
of some low-tech glitch.
And I hope those election officials who tried to quietly stuff a whole
lot of pre-marked ballot papers in the box get stuck in jail for a long
Surely though, the time has come to look at a better, more high-tech way
of voting?
Nowadays, there is fingerprint-recognition technology,
eyeball-recognition technology, face-recognition technology and quite
probably nose hair, big-toe and sphincter-muscle recognition technology
as well.
Swipe and vote
So, with those new credit-card type ID whatits that we are supposed to
be getting, some highly secret thingummybob could be loaded onto each
card when we register to vote and then when we get to the polling booth
instead of scanning our ID books as they did this time with their little
zip-zip machines, they can just swipe our ID card that will show that we
are legally registered to vote.
Then we could go straight to the voting booth and instead of a piece of
paper there would be a touch screen that would allow us simply to put
our fingers on the party symbol or face of the leader and immediately a
message and voice would come up saying: Hi Chris, you have just voted
for the Unholy Alliance Party - if that's right press YES.
If you want to change your mind, press I WANT TO CHANGE MY MIND and try
again. Now, if you are absolutely, positively sure you want to vote for
the Unholy Alliance Party, just press YES again and off you go."
The digital vote would then go straight into a computer and the overall
results would be made known immediately after all the polls had closed.
Ok, now I hear all sorts of people asking me if I have never heard of
computer crime, hacking, hardware crashes, viruses and all those other
things that make computers so unreliable.
Sure I have, but by the time the next elections come round, those
problems will surely be a thing of the past?
Maybe it can even be done so that we can vote online from our homes. Or
from our cell phones? Let's face it; even these days absolutely
everybody from the President to street urchins and very, very old
grandmothers have cell phones.
And forget about the argument that the majority of the citizens of our
country don't know how to use computers. That's nonsense - just look how
quickly those bank books disappeared and people took to using ATM's and
bank cards. And just look at how quickly cell phones caught on. Those
two things completely confounded critics who said poor, rural South
Africans were not ready for technology.
In fact, why not just adapt all those bank ATM's for a day to allow us
to use them to vote.
Just think how convenient that will be for a lot of political parties.
They won't have to go to all that trouble to buy food parcels for voters
and have street corner braais in order to encourage people to vote for
them. They can just put a message on the ATM that says something like:
"Thank you for voting for the Unholy Alliance Party, please remove your
R100 cash reward from the ATM cash dispenser below."
Seriously though, I reckon there has got to be a better way of voting
that will stop election officials trying to slip a few hundred
pre-market ballot papers into the box or from running short of papers
and have everyone hanging about until the early hours.
Not to mention the fact that people could vote from anywhere in the
country and expats can even cast their vote from a street corner
MongolBank ATM in Ulaanbataar.
It just has to make sense.
After all, we can do our banking, buy airlines tickets, gamble, order
pizzas, buy electricity, pay all our accounts, talk to friends and
family all over the world, read newspapers, pay our tax, download music
and movies - all online.
So, why can't we vote that way?
Send your comments to Chris.
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