Polls are now open across the UK for the snap general election, amid heightened security following the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.
Turnout is expected to be high, despite the people of the UK being subjected to three straight years of national polls — first the 2015 general election, then the Brexit vote last June, and now the snap general election called by Theresa May.
Timeline for Brexit
- April 15, 2019
There are three ways people are able to vote in the election but online isn’t one of them.
You can vote by:
Going to a polling station;
Voting by postal vote, and
Getting someone to vote for you as your proxy.
You can find out more about each of these ways that you can vote here.
Why can’t we vote online?
In a world where we can bank online, can shop online, and pay our bills online, why is it that we can’t vote online?
Voting has remained an analogue activity around much of the world. Infamously in the US electronic voting systems have been repeatedly accused of voter fraud.
In short, it’s because we don’t know how it would work and the risks associated with it still outweigh the benefits.
While trudging down to a polling booth, queuing up, and ticking a box on a voting slip may seem archaic it has many of the requirements which make for a stable and trustworthy voting system.
It is hard to hack the system on any real scale as doing so would require a huge amount of manpower which would likely be discovered. The system is less vulnerable to attack; it would be terrible if a voting booth were attacked but it would not derail the election. And voting can be done in private without risk of leaks.
While it may seem unfeasible for thousands of people around the country to frantically count votes overnight, with results slowly dripping in through the morning, constituency by constituency it provides still the best system we have for voting on a wide scale.
However the system is not without its flaws. Bad weather has been shown to keep people away from voting, lowering turnout and digital native young people are put off by the idea of not being able to vote on their phone or tablet.
The main problems with online voting are seen to be:
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It’s only once these three problems are combatted that online, or even electronic, voting could really be considered.