Europeans Throughout the World (ETTW) and European Citizens Abroad (ECA) have recently launched a shared and open research group on electronic voting. Electronic voting technologies have been used for many years in various countries around the globe and have facilitated the vote of many, in particular of those who live outside of their country of origin.
A few words about electronic voting…
By electronic voting, we refer to the voting systems that use electronic technologies. Electronic voting technologies can be divided in two types: e-voting and I-voting.
E-voting is the system where voters cast their vote with the aid of a computer. In this case, voters generally must go to their polling station to make their choice on a big machine, which replaces the traditional envelope and ballot. This system is widely used in many countries, more often for local level elections.
I-voting is the system where voters cast their vote from any device using the Internet. I-voting allows citizens to vote directly from their home using their personal computer, for example. While this system is less common than e-voting, it has already been used in some countries even for national and European elections.
It comes at no surprise that I-voting is the technology that would serve the best the interests of expats, especially if they live afar from their Consulate or Embassy. In fact, only the combination of various voting technologies, either already existing or still in need to be implemented, such as voting by post, proxy, e-voting and I-voting can guarantee a fair and equal access to the vote for millions of European expats. Electronic voting, in addition to other facilities, would thus, make a real change for expats’ ability to vote.
Why a research group?
At ETTW and ECA, we believe that all the ways to ease democratic participation for expats should be considered, and electronic voting is definitely one of them. In the near future, it could become part of our list of proposals to facilitate the participation of European expats in the democratic process, along with our petition on equal voting rights, for example. We do our best on a daily basis to promote the changes that could be implemented to facilitate the democratic life of all European regardless of where they live. In addition to our educational material on our websites and awareness-raising campaigns, we advocate to see these changes in national and European agendas. This task is by far the hardest, considering that we have to convince our representatives of both the relevance and importance of our work. In order to gain credibility and visibility, we need to master the topic we are advocating for, we need to be experts about what we are promoting. This is why at ETTW and ECA, we decided to join our forces and launch an open research group about electronic voting.
How can I help?
We welcome any kind of help on this topic, either because you know about electronic voting technologies, or because you have used I-voting before and would like to give us your opinion.
We are particularly looking for experts, academics and MPs/MEPs working on this topic or those considering using or promoting these technologies. Using all the data collect we will then compile a dossier on the topic for future advocacy.
Those are the questions we are interested in:
– How many EU citizens are already using electronic voting technologies?
– Feedback on I-voting from abroad (testimonials)
– What are the limits to the implementation/generalisation of electronic voting technologies in the EU?