Apparently market research company Censuswide carried out an online survey of 994 Irish adults on behalf of Pure Telecom in June and according to themselves, they found that 40pc of eligible voters who didn’t vote in the last general election in 2016 would “definitely” vote if remote e-voting was an option.
This is of course, bullshit on several levels. Firstly, the devil is in the detail. That so-called 40% are actually forty per cent of those who ‘didn’t’ vote the last time, not 40% of the eligible vote. So these couch potatoes are the ones that couldn’t be bothered getting off their arses to toddle down to their nearby voting booth. I reckon that instead of asking them would they like to vote electronically they should be struck from the register permanently. After all, they obviously don’t give a shit about who gets into power.
But the article goes on to explain that 42% are saying the e-vote should be an option. They are not saying that it should be the only option, that’s an important caveat. Then it says that, “A fifth said they would like to vote using a mobile.” A fifth of what? Is it a fifth of the eligible vote or a fifth of the 42% who want to vote electronically, or a fifth of the popular vote the last time? Mind you it could be just a fifth of the 994 people participating in the survey, (199 people), in which case it’s meaningless. Famously, a polling company can get any answer they want if they phrase the questions a certain way, always remember that.
The danger of e-voting is how open it is to corruption. It is no exaggeration to say that the company/organisation given the license to run the e-voting system could give any really interested/vested party any result they wanted/paid for ………. after the vote has been taken. If two million votes were registered, it would not be a problem to announce that Fine Gael got all but one single one of them because there is no paper trail but there would be the facility for a laughable re-count.
For the uninitiated, there would be a simple back engine for each count centre with a list of the candidates. a live counter would run as votes were being cast for these candidates. A computer timer would decide when the voting ended and what would be left is a small database file, (think Excel), where in theory, you would just run a macro to put the names in descending order of votes cast. This, incidentally, would not happen at the traditional count centers. Instead, the data from all the outlets around the country would fed into the servers of the organizing company or organisation, probably in Dublin. At this point, the operator, (under instruction), could just go in and take a couple of thousand votes from the winning Fianna Fail candidate in the constituency and add those votes to the second-placed Fine Gael candidate and they would change places on the sorted database. The total count would remain unaffected, not that that matters. Equally you could obliterate the Independents leaving their vote in single figures. That would certainly tidy up the Dail. But the point is that the election outcome could be decided before a single vote is cast. You cannot do that with ballot papers.
Then there is research bias, the biggest one of all being the ‘funding bias.’ You will note that this piece of so-called research was carried out by ‘Censuswide’ on behalf of Pure Telecom. To operate an e-voting system the Government would need to contract an, ahem, Telecoms Company, maybe even a “Pure Telecoms Company.” So no surprise then that Pure Telecom should find that people are getting interested again in e-voting. It would be hugely in their interests if that were so.
But I don’t believe a word of it. Those who exercise the franchise, particularly at General Election time, are no fools. They know instinctively that anything electronic is wide open to being corrupted. There can be no electronic accountability because there can’t be. The party in Government can stay in power as long as they like through e-voting because they have the giving of the e-voting contract, (to Pure Telecom?).
Beware the snake oil salesmen.