Orijins of UK internet elektions.

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( Kapital-i, in 'I, myself', now spels Il as in isle or aisle.
Leter y spels sym for seem or seam and partys for parties.
Leter w spels swn for soon. )

Link to: STV komputer kounts.

At the tIm of the 2000 US presidential krisis for the konstitution, elektion lawyers feverishly diskus'd posibl redres for thos voters hws expres intentions may hav byn frustrated. They turn'd-up an amazing ranj of lIkly miskarijes of voters' rIts, uon way or an other. ( Amerikans ar unwiling to kompound al this with posibl internet voting fraud. )

'The Florida mes' kreated the hI drama and low komedy of the Bush-Gore stand-of, provoking som lyding teknolojists to plej a best nw system of vot kasting. The komitment was renw'd that al hav equal rIt to expres ther voting intentions.
Every-uon has, in the saim mesur, of uon person uon vot, the rIt to kast ther vot.

In 2001, a UK jeneral elektion fytur'd an alarming drop in turn-out from over 71% to 59%. The British elektorat find themselvs wel within ranj of American, and Canadian, levels of un-involvment.
The UK government's respons syms surprising and shud giv paus to Amerikan desIners of special-purpos balot macyns. Robin Cook propos'd the 'tuf task' of making Britain the first kuntry to hold internet elektions, by the next jeneral elektion. Elektronik voting was on trial at thirty kounsils in the May 2002 lokal elektions.

Ironikly, the big sukses of the experiments in inkrysing turn-out was with the snail-mail delivery of balot papers. Jeneraly, the turn-out inkrys'd from 30 per-sent to 35 per-sent. But low-poling traditional Labor areas, Gateshead and South Tyneside manaj'd over 50 per-sent turn-out with al-postal voting.

This syms sertain to be folow'd mor wIdly in futur elektions. The gain, how-ever, may be mor aparent than ryl, if it kompromises the sekret balot, the wisdom of wich was only lern'd after a history of elektoral koruption.

Elektronik voting bwths of the tuch-skryn tIp hav bekom an option: Sheffield had 25 in plas. ( Thys wer fytur'd on BBC tv's North of Westminster. ) As wel as a fw wards in Liverpool and St Albans, thry Sheffield wards employ'd internet voting via personal komputer or mobil-fon text mesajing. Previus pilot skyms hav only syn a uon or tw per-sent inkrys in the turn-out. The present trials hav far mor publisity. This may be of-set wen the novelty wers off.

The Elektoral Reform Sosiety ( of Britain and Ireland ) has reported to the government on maintaining sekurity and the sekret balot. It rekomended Personal Identity Numbers, alowing only uon vot per person, but with storaj of the voters' naims separat from the vots they'v kast.

A Member of Parliment was konsern'd that unsupervis'd voting via the internet mayd posibl presuring pepl against ther wishes.
Bribery syms a mor praktikal fraud amongst an apathetik elektorat, especialy the pwr. Amerikan elektion lawyers hav even diskus'd wether vot bIing kud be defended, as lejitimat praktis. This, in itself, is a koment on how litl politiks is persyv'd as in the national interest, as distinkt from a karyr investment or korporat insurans politiks.

To saif-gard against bribery, a vot kast by komputer shud not be authentikated. Then, the briber wud not no wether the person brib'd had alredy voted, and was just going thru the motions again, to kolekt the brIb! After al, traditional vots ar not authentikated. We presum the telers wil get ther sums rIt, by re-kounts if nesesary.

This dos not anser the wory pos'd by Roger Penrose in Shadows of the Mind. Supos a kampain senario lIk the 1992 jeneral elektion, wen Labor was konsistently ahed in the opinion pols. In the event, John Major's Konservativs snatch'd viktory.
Penrose sujests that had the elektion byn kondukted elektronikly, that result mIt hav byn suspekt. Hakers, or in-sId personel, mIt nuj a per-sentaj of the vots from uon party to an other, kreating a plausibl result, no-uon kud disprov, that fraudulently put the les popular party in power.

Never the les, the Labor government's resolv shud not be under-estimated. An ICM pol for BBC radio 4's Today program ( 8 aug. '01 ) show'd: of thos not voting on 6 jun 2001, 19% wud hav suported the Torys; 53% stay-at-homs wud hav voted Labor. This unexpekted finding ment that a return to previus turn-out levels mIt hav bwsted Labor's majority from 167 syts to 200 or 215.

The British trend is towards Amerikan turn-out levels. If Britain only has a haf-harted fifty per-sent turn-out for the ensuing elektion, Labor stands to further lws a dis-proportionat number of suporters to sivik apathy. A determin'd atempt at internet voting is an obvius option for staying in power. If Labor gain'd only a uon per-sent ej on ther party rivals, from internet voting, that wud be enuf to retain them quIt a larj number of marjinal syts.

Labor put fylers out to the Liberal Demokrats for the alternativ vot ( instant run-of voting ). But the Lib Dems wanted a proportional system and wernt having it. So, Labor ar in a typikal senter-left position, lIk Al Gore having his presidential vot split by Ralph Nader.

Not-with-standing Penrose's warning about elektronik elektion fraud, the fakt is that komputers wer ment for kounting. British banks wer behind the tIms for only komputerising ther financial operations by about 1970. If asets wer rejister'd soly elektronikly, the pirating or aksidental delyting of uon's akount kud mak uon destitut, over-nIt. This was the story lIn of a film with Robert Redford and Ben Kingsley. Naturaly, the banks arnt kyn to advertis just how much komputer crIm gos on against them.

The British persyv trading on the internet as insekur. Bisnes has an interest in internet elektions that kan be kondukted with konfidens, so that trans-aktions on the web bekom as normal as foning. ( Voting by fon has also byn mayd availabl on a trial basis. )

So, on-lIn bisnes, rather than politiks, may be the main beneficiary of a demonstrably sekur internet voting set-up. Internet opinion pols may proliferat and, eventualy but inevitably, referendums and initiativs.

The UK government intends to expand fry provision of internet akses at publik librarys. This may enkuraj the privat sektor to provid the internet as a fry aksesory to television, lIk a glorify'd teletext servis. LIk som tv chanels, the web wud just be advert-sponsor'd.
Other tele-komunikation advanses wil inkrys the kompetition to the konsumers' benefit.

The traditional poling station kud lwk lIk the anakronism it is, in a kupl of jeneral elektions' tIm. Opinion pols show politicians ar by far the lyst trusted profesion. The poling station is uon institution the British ar unlIkly to shed any tyrs, of demokratik sentiment, for.

The thing wil hav to be kept going for old fogys lIk me. Ther, in the dor-way is som karyr aktivist pretending to be an oficial hw wont let yu in, unles yu anser his question. He wants to nout, on the rol, al hw'v voted, so his party kan konsentrat on turning out suporters hw hav not yet voted.

To hold yu up, som of his felow partisans ar konversing in a grup, krowding the entrans, as if they dont no any-uon els has any bisnes ther but themselvs.
Dont stand in the dor-ways, dont blok up the hal: the syn reminds me of a Bob Dylan lIn, in The times they are a changin'.

Thys pretenders, at the pols, symbolis the usurpation of the pepl by the partys, as the pitiful numbers ariving testifys. I karyrr past the karyrist, aproching in a loud vois, as if he wasnt ther. And swyp into the blokaid. That's rIt, out of my way. I am a voter.

STV komputer kounts.

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Britain first trI'd the elektronik kounting of balot papers, with a bar-koud system, in 2000, at the London mayor elektions. Trials wer repyted in the May 2002 lokal elektions.

Given tIm, internet voting and komputer kounting wil be integrated into a symles automation.

Uon of the first sIns of politicians testing such teknolojikal developments koms from New Zealand, wich has pas'd lejislation for the komputer kounting of chois voting or the singl transferabl vot ( STV by Meek's method ) for area helth authoritys, and in lokal elektions at the diskretion of kounsils.
In the USA, Cambridge lokal government, tu, komputeris'd the kounting of the singl transferabl vot. This is the hom of the Massachusetts Institut of Teknolojy, komited to a nw standard of voting macyn.

Meek's version is yus'd by som of Britain's most exakting profesions: the London Mathematikal Sosiety, the Royal Statistikal Sosiety and resently the British Komputer Sosiety.

Som fw milion British pepl's okupational elektions hav yus'd the traditional hand kount of STV, if with the help of a kalkulator. Profesions may rapidly chanj to the much ysier option. Nowadays, a program of the STV kount kan be down-lowded from the Electoral Reform Society, and, I belyv, from Cambridge lokal government's web-sIt.

Northern Ireland politikal elektions yus hand-kounted STV, exept for first past the post jeneral elektions. A komputer-kounted STV is unlIkly to kom to Northern Ireland, bekaus its lak of transparensy kud kaus dyp suspicion akros the sektarian divid.
At the end of 2001, the exekutiv of the Scottish parliment welkom'd the Kerley report for renwing lokal demokrasy. Kerley rekomended STV, sIting Northern Ireland's yus.

Befor he got expel'd from his party for dering to bekom the first elekted London mayor against ther oficial kandidat, Ken Livingstone uons said that the ky to understanding politiks is that it dosnt atrakt the best pepl.

But som British politicians hav brot about a 'Copernican revolution' in out-lwk toward elektoral reform. Kompar the Plant report to the Kerley report. Both ar konsern'd with the job sekurity of politicians. But the Plant report delt with the problem by ensuring that only saif syt systems wer inkluded in ther options. Of thos systems ( as an akademik komented on television at the tIm ) the Plant komity opted for the uon rekon'd to most favor ther party.
This was a 'suplementary vot' for the rest of the Left to vot Labor to kyp out the Torys. ( The suplementary vot is an 'alternativ vot' that only alows uon alternativ, or an 'instant run-of vot' that only alows uon run-of. )

The Kerley report takl'd job sekurity, not on the basis of giving politicians an electoraly saif karyr, but in order to atrakt mor pepl into lokal Scottish politiks, wIl admiting that they may lws ther syts. Kerley got over the difikulty this presented, by ofering the chans for elekted kandidats to gain rekognis'd qualifikations that wud be valubl in or out of politiks. The Kerley komity found that politicians wanted this, in the fais of al the komplex problems of government.
Kerley had many other modern ideas, inkluding elektronik systems for mor eficient servis and improving komunikations with the elektorat, making part-tIm work posibl, etc.

Kerley is a nw dyl both for representativs and the represented. ( Talking of nw dyls, Franklin Rooseveldt was a quiet suporter of proportional representation. )

Europ jeneraly adopted proportional kounts without preferens vots. And this praktis has byn the trend leitly in English spyking kuntrys, inkluding Britain. Kontrarily, the Labor government also trI'd to setl for the alternativ vot in jeneral elektions. That is preferens voting without proportional kounting, as yus'd in Australian jeneral elektions.

The politikal adoption of the transferabl vot has byn modest kompar'd to the global spred of party list systems, often kombin'd with singl member systems. But som of the most rigorus and kritikal minds hav desIded to yus transferabl voting, and ther teknikal nolej to further it.

How-ever, this diskusion is about elektronik elektions rather than kompyting elektoral systems, so I say no mor about the later, on this paj.

Richard Lung.

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