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Democracy deserves better than electronic voting

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This week 1.1 million French voters living outside of France have the opportunity to cast a vote for their eleven members of Parliament via the internet. Voting will be made through a web application which requires the use of non-free software¹, according to citizens using Free software.

The FSFE deplores the use of proprietary software and shares her concerns regarding electronic voting. Above all, the FSFE denounces the amateurism of the French State, who experiments with some voters the implementation of a system that does not meet the democratic requirements for national elections.

"The voting structure has been privatised and placed out of the citizens' reach." said Hugo Roy, FSFE's French Coordinator. Indeed, the software's source code hasn't been published, and in the absence of a paper evidence there is no way for a voter to be sure that her vote has been registered and sent as intended.

While a classic voting procedure is supposed to guarantee an anonymous vote and fairness in balloting, notably through the use of voting booths, transparent ballot boxes, and followed by a detailed and verified counting of the votes. To this day, none of these precautions are taken for remote electronic voting. It even makes fraud and errors undetectable. For these reasons, electronic voting has been under serious criticism in a number of countries. In 2011, the German Supreme Court imposed rigorous conditions² for electronic voting processes.

"The organising of this online voting is completely reckless." Roy said. "It's a complete regression concerning the right to vote and democracy, all cloaked in the guise of technical progress. The vote is treated like a gadget."

FSFE demands to the French government to restore due respect to the democratic process, and to withdraw this voting method that is seriously flawed.

Footnotes

  1. The application required for voting necessitates installing the proprietary version of Java, developed by Oracle source
  2. Decision of 3 March, 2009 concerning voting by computer