Scots unlikely to be given option to vote online soon

Yes supporters gather in George Square, just a few hours before polling stations closed in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. Scots are unlikely to be given the option of voting online given concerns over technology. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Yes supporters gather in George Square, just a few hours before polling stations closed in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. Scots are unlikely to be given the option of voting online given concerns over technology. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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The prospect of Scots being able to vote online in elections is unlikely any time soon amid concerns that the technology could be used to “distort democratic process”, MSPs have been told.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on reforms to the electoral system and Nationalist MSP Stewart Stevenson told MSPs that security concerns over an online approach is a problem “not yet solved”.

But he suggested a potential solution which would see votes counted by paper ballot, but “submitted for counting, that allows submissions securely, from smartphone to counting centre – and able to be verified by voter and observers.”

The Open Rights Group civil liberties body has set out three key tests covering security, anonymity and verification for online voting. Countries which have introduced it such as Holland and Estonia have so far fallen short of meeting them all. The Baltic state was even subject of a Russian cyber attack.

Labour’s Alex Rowley said; “I do not think we will be moving in this direction any time soon. We’re seeing many concerns about technology and how it can be used to distort democratic processes.”