The Parameters and Context of Electronic Voting: Legislation
There are different trends and ways of defining the principal parameters and context of electronic voting. For the purposes of independent and comparable analysis, the four main factors which set the contextual environment for the deployment of online voting are:
- Existing legislation
- Evolving technology
- Social reservations
- Transparency and trust factors
In this post we will look to introduce the first factor, legislative requirements.
In general, all online and electronic transactions, whether commercial, banking or electoral require a legal framework regulating their function. This has resulted in the arising of a new legal field aiming to regulate e-transactional environments within the scope of existing legislation, in this case electoral legislation.
A legal regulatory framework has always been part of the electoral process. The law must set the conditions for running an irreproachable online and electronic voting process. As with the operation of a traditional polling station, one must set the legal standards for the operation of the electronic polling station, the function of the human role, the security standards to be met, the advantages that technology has to offer and whether these are judged trustworthy enough to be used. Reviews and indepth analysis are continuously being published across the globe; the Revisiting legal and regulatory requirements for secure eVoting analysis by Lilian Mitrou, Dimitris Gritzalis,Sokratis Katsikas and eVoting rights from Electronic Frontier Foundation are two examples of how legislation regarding remote and onsite electronic voting is being considered.
Legislators must define the practices for conducting an online election and cope with possible legal arguments presented in electoral courts. The absence of invalid ballots – given paper ballots are replaced by a digitally coded inscription to the relevant data base – may reduce legal fights about the validity of ballots, but new legal contests may arise regarding the efficacy and the validity of the technological solutions used in an online election.