The state of online voting around the globe
One has to carefully examine all existing electronic and online voting experiences before reaching safe conclusions as to its prospects, benefits and drawbacks. But can this be done in a generic way?
There are indeed key aspects that have to be visited. Understanding the technology used is essential. The security measures involved simply have to be discussed and evaluated. Having a fair understanding of the trust relations developed along the full spectrum of stakeholders is paramount. Then again all these aspects differentiate from country to country, let alone the different legal provisions involved according to each national legal framework. Therefore a safe way to go about it is to examine all the available online voting legacy information on a national level.
Over the past ten years there have been many cases of elections being supported by various e-voting channels and solutions. During this time, technology and security have evolved and relevant trust has been developed. In some countries more than others. Looking at e-voting on a regional perspective can provide a level of abstraction that can facilitate documenting the lessons learned. We do need to codify all accumulated experience on e-voting and relate it to regional electoral traditions. For example a good practice in France might not be suitable for Estonia and vice versa. But then again, a documented good practice in France may stand a better chance of being applied in Canada or other francophone countries due to cultural similarities and analogies.
Of course this approach has to be judged on an assumption level but then again this is only a ten year old discipline. The study of online voting resembles a child who has to grow up and mature faster than expected due to external circumstances. E-voting, being inherently connected to the rapid evolution of technology, simply has to keep up the pace. The challenge therefore becomes the political and societal readiness of each discrete electorate to adopt and adjust novel, electronically served, internet enabled voting channels.