E-voting pilot schemes announced

31/01/2007

The government has announced that it is to trial the use of e-voting systems at local government elections in May.

Voters in certain areas will be able to place their votes using the internet or the telephone, with the final evaluation of the scheme to take into account security, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

A number of other local authority areas will also have their votes electronically scanned as part of the pilots.

'Not everyone can get to a polling station, so we need to introduce new ways to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote,' commented Bridget Prentice, elections minister at the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

'More and more people, and particularly young people, are using the internet everyday. We need to see if we can use this to encourage people even more to participate in the democratic process.'

However, the scheme has been criticised by digital rights organisation the Open Rights Group amid concerns over security.

It also said that problems with e-voting in other countries, such as Italy and the Netherlands, should show the government that it is a problematic issue in terms of computer science.