For all their limitations democratic elections have this virtue – that our votes are more numerous than those of bankers, press barons and police chiefs which means that we can to some extent keep a check on the unequal power relationships that prevail in other contexts and at other times.
But all of this is threatened by New Labour's love affair with the high-tech election technology ('Trust Us' faith based voting) which reduces us to the position of children having to rely on the word of an abusive parent (cf Iraq war lies, etc).
To a host of older ways of rigging elections - such as by suppressing the number of 'undesirables' registered to vote, or by confusing ballot design, etc, the US Republicans have now added 'black box voting' and e-counting whereby the people intend X when they vote, and the Returning Officers announce Z as the result, but in between no one can really be sure about Y - that there haven't been mistakes or even invisible ballot-stuffing and switching. (After all most financial theft is carried out by corporate insiders using computers.)
The cancer of electoral deception is now spreading around the world. We have to stop this 'stealth-technology' take-over before it is too late. Not only are computerised elections expensive and unreliable, they are also bound to further reduce 'trust in the political process' and thus lead to falling NOT rising levels of electoral participation.
Unless everyone's vote really counts, we will head back to corporate feudalism and endless wars, now with added climate havoc and global poisoning. Valuable changes in the electoral system (such as the introduction of STV) must NOT become the thin end of the wedge for the Powers That Be to foist inappropriate voting and counting mechanisms upon us. Let's keep our traditional secret voting arrangements with publicly watched local counts and tightly controlled postal voting only for good cause. Nor is there any good reason to allow e-voting or e-counting in elections for unions, parties, companies, etc.
Without transparency there can be no well-founded trust, and elections cannot fulfil their positive role of allowing proponents of competing perspectives to resolve differences without resort to civil war. Because of the impossibility of squaring the circle combining high anonymity and high auditability, election integrity activists and computer scientists alike are increasingly concluding that electronic elections are inherently incapable of being made 100 percent secure.
Therefore publicly sealed and opened ballot boxes counted locally are the highest form of technology, and we need to band together to resist the insidious pressures for so-called 'modernisation' which will take us back to having to rely on non-transparent oracles and entrails which a new priesthood of 'experts' reads and announces who is to be our new king!
CAMPAIGN FOR VISIBLE ELECTIONS
(possible title?Further suggestions welcome!),
keith[dot]mothersson[at]phonecoop[dot]coop (please Request read receipt); 2b Darnhall Cres, Perth PH2 0HH; 0845 456 4779 (local rate).
WAYS WE CAN EDUCATE OURSELVES (despite the cover-up and denial being practised)
Reports e.g. the great Open Rights Group Report on E-voting/counting in the May 3rd elections, from http://media.ito.com/kevinmarks/org_election_report.pdf ;
Books by e.g. Bev Harris; R. Fitrakis and H. Wasserman; 'Hacked!' eds A. deLozier and V. Karp; 'Fooled Again!' Mark Crispin Miller; 'Steal This Vote' Andrew Gumbell; Greg Palast; etc.
Discussion forum articles such as