Edited by Corien Prins, Colette Cuijpers, Peter L. Lindseth and Mônica Rosina
Chapter 7: Election integrity: the constitutionality of transitioning to electronic voting in comparative terms
While we tend to think of digital democracy as a positive development, embracing electronic voting may be a risky endeavour for democracies. Even assuming technology can reliably replace traditional paper voting, transitioning to e-voting may mean paying a heavy price in terms of transparency, popular participation in elections, and public trust in the democratic system. Additionally, the assumption that digital elections can be reliable may not accord with reality, given that saboteurs have immeasurable incentives to sway electoral results. Were we to permit remote digital voting, it would also be impossible to guarantee the free and secret nature of elections. Moreover, remote digital voting would completely transform the communal nature of elections as integral to a nation’s collective self-definition. Changing voting processes should thus be treated as a constitutional matter, with distinct variables in any given country. Countries should thus be careful when drawing conclusions from other countries’ experiences with digital voting. Especially in the context of e-voting, the application of constitutional standards may require different decisions for different countries. The factors affecting such decisions are enumerated.
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