Electronic voting open to errors, fraud

Anything electronic will always be open to errors and fraud (Singapore should advance to online voting, by Mr Lee Kwok Weng; Dec 1).

With electronic voting, there is too much ambiguity.

Electronic voting machines can easily be manipulated by people - there is always the chance that a hacker could manipulate the data.

Electronic voting is also not a foolproof method as machines can short-circuit or be misused.

If there is a power outage, it will be difficult to ascertain voting data. There would also be no way to assure people that their votes went through successfully.

There is a possibility for a person to vote multiple times as machines can malfunction or be hacked to allow multiple votes. The manufacturer of the machines may also manipulate the software to produce fraudulent results.

Furthermore, touch-screen machines can misinterpret a voter's intent. For example, a voter might touch the part of the screen identifying candidate A, but candidate B's box could be selected instead. The sensors in touch-screen devices can likewise be knocked out of alignment by the vibration that may occur while the machines are being transported.

This system also does not allow for meaningful audits because there is no way to ask every voter if the person they voted for was the person that showed up on their screen.

Democratic elections require independent verification and it is important that we stick to paper ballots as they provide concrete evidence of the number of votes a candidate receives.

Cheng Choon Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2018, with the headline 'Electronic voting open to errors, fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe