CEC Wants E-voting Postponed Indefinitely

CEC Wants E-voting Postponed Indefinitely

Sofia, February 13 (BTA) - Although electronic voting should be held first during the European Parliament elections in 2019, the Central Election Commission (CEC) has asked Parliament to put this off indefinitely, "Sega" reports on Tuesday. The Election Code amendments of 2016 require CEC to start experimenting remote electronic voting from January 2018, and if it is successful, to introduce it as a regular procedure in 2019.

After six e-voting trials at the end of 2017, it turns out that remote e-voting cannot be introduced yet, although the power-holders are set on introducing e-government.

In a brief analysis of the trials, CEC says the risk of vote rigging in e-voting is greater than in voting with ballot papers, and lists the obstacles to introducing remote e-voting.

The pros of e-voting are that it is quick and convenient for voters, it lowers the risk of marking the wrong candidate on a ballot paper, and ensures easier vote counting. At the same time, remote e-voting requires specific computer skills. CEC identifies as "insurmountable" the problem of vote rigging: "Apart from the risk of multiple voting, the risk that someone will control the vote is considerable because the voter may not be alone or someone else may cast a vote on his/her behalf, whereas in voting with ballot papers the voter is alone in the booth."

Introducing a qualified e-signature cannot guarantee anonymity of the vote, according to CEC. As to Bulgarians abroad, they will still need to travel thousands of kilometres because a valid e-signature can be issued in Bulgaria only.

Other obstacles outlined by the election administration are: the appreciation of the election process due to the simultaneous introduction of three types of voting (ballot, machine and electronic voting); the need of a single administrative system acting as an umbrella for the various units responsible for electronic voting; the need of further research and creation of additional defences in view of the series of global cyberattacks.

Meanwhile, former MP and Union of Democratic Forces ex-leader Martin Dimitrov Sunday wrote on Facebook that together with former MPs Peter Slavov and Metodi Andreev, he had taken CEC to court over their refusal to provide information under the Access to Public Information Act about the actions taken to introduce machine voting. Following the court's decision, CEC informed him that in August 2017 they requested 50 million leva for the purchase of machines from the Finance Ministry but have not received an answer yet. According to Dimitrov, this sum seems excessive, which suggests that it may have been requested so as not to be granted.

Source: Sofia