May 23, 2024

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After GE15, will M'sia have e-voting? Here are its pros & cons.

After GE15, will M’sia have e-voting? Here are its pros & cons.

With GE15 on us, quite a few information web pages have been sharing suggestions for first-time voters on how to mark the ballot, fold it, and deposit it into the box. 

But is not it time we retire the ink-and-paper program and opt for a thing a little more state-of-the-art? 

In accordance to The Straits Periods, the Malaysian government did look into the feasibility of e-voting in 2020. Even so, the Election Commission (EC) was nevertheless unsatisfied with the confidentiality and stability difficulties involving e-voting. 

So, despite the fact that on the net and e-voting programs aren’t on the table for GE15, here’s why they may possibly continue to be an solution in the upcoming, specifically due to the fact paper ballots are not fully foolproof possibly.

Like a perfectly-oiled device

A person of the most obvious advantages of employing digital voting machines is usefulness. We’ll no extended want to print tens of millions of ballot papers, as electronic voting machines will enable customers to enter their votes directly into the machines.

Additionally, it stops voters from casting wasted or invalid votes, which may perhaps squander the time of the polling agent. As this sort of, the vote counting is quicker and additional exact as properly. 

But understandably, a large amount of folks have uncertainties about the legitimacy and protection of an electronic voting device. The machine could have been tampered with by its maker, handler, consumers, and additional. The risks of making use of such voting equipment may possibly even make citizens truly feel a lot less inclined to vote.

Nonetheless, electronic voting machines are not the only devices that can be applied at polling stations. 

Impression Credit rating: Smartmatic

For instance, voting engineering firm Smartmatic has worked with various countries these types of as Brazil, Belgium, the United States, and additional, to modernise their voting system.

Smartmatic even labored with our neighbouring nation, Singapore, due to the fact its 2020 normal election, utilizing its technologies to permit for digital registrations of voters at polling stations. 

This produced voting more easy as election officials did not have to manually strike out each and every voters’ particulars from a hardcopy register of electors when a voter has voted. 

In GE14, there ended up stories of long queues, resulting in voters obtaining to wait around in the warm sun. The EC was even instructed to increase voting periods since of it.

These equipment may well help to quell all those extended queues. But more mature voters who are fewer literate with technological know-how may possibly discover this to be a issue.

In addition, commenters on Smartmatic’s Fb website page clearly show that the firm is not harmless from allegations that it is colluding with politicians.

What about on-line voting?

Online voting is nevertheless relatively unparalleled in the environment, and there are superior explanations for it. The same worries with electronic voting machines utilize right here, apart from on the web voting could possibly be even fewer secure. Consider hackers and internet outages, amid other points. 

Picture Credit history: Smartmatic

But the gain of on the net voting is clear—accessibility and greater voter participation. However, the problems surely nevertheless outweigh the advantages. 

As such, some scientists are turning to a know-how that is more recent nevertheless: blockchain.

Blockchain as a solution from voter fraud

The engineering behind NFTs and cryptocurrency, blockchains are shared, immutable ledgers that aid the course of action of recording transactions in a community.

This engineering is acknowledged for its protection, with the important term staying “immutable”, which implies fastened. With blockchain tech, all the things is recorded, which indicates hacks are less of a concern. 

Scientists from the University Kebangsaan Malaysia including Dr Uzma Jafar, Mohd Juzaiddin Ab Aziz, and Zarina Shukur wrote a paper on using blockchain technological know-how in electronic voting devices. 

Pinpointing that “a one vulnerability” in electronic voting “can guide to significant-scale manipulations of votes”, they prompt blockchain technological innovation as an possibility, calling it “a wonderful substitution for common digital voting answers with dispersed, non-repudiation, and protection safety characteristics”. 

The paper also argues that blockchain methods may well resolve shortcomings of regular elections.

“In conventional voting techniques, we have a central authority to solid a vote. If somebody desires to modify or alter the record, they can do it swiftly no 1 is aware of how to verify that record. One particular does not have the central authority the knowledge are stored in various nodes. It is not possible to hack all nodes and change the facts. Hence, in this way, one particular are unable to demolish the votes and successfully confirm the votes by tally with other nodes.”

Graphic Credit: Wiki Commons

But all this relies on the availability and accessibility of this sort of know-how. A good deal of means could be needed to adequately guarantee privacy and safety of voters. 

Furthermore, the newness and unfamiliarity of these engineering would make it a very little considerably less approachable, especially on a huge scale. As soon as once more, this can backfire and consequence in much less voter confidence and a lesser turnout. 

Paper is king?

Have you at any time heard of the indicating, “If it ain’t broke, do not correct it”? Despite the fact that this sort of a mentality can sometimes hinder progress, it might utilize in this case. 

At the end of the working day, paper ballots have been the go-to approach of voting for governments throughout the world, and there is a great cause why.

Other countries that have executed extra advanced tech like the United States experienced dealt with controversies and speculations in excess of their voting devices. Even if these controversies have been tested erroneous, they even now operate to undermine voters’ self confidence in these kinds of tools.

Paper, on the other hand, is tangible and common, and a lot more importantly, it works. At minimum, for now.  

Of study course, technology would support make voting additional handy and obtainable, but for now, perhaps the way we vote is not as essential as whether or not we even vote in the very first spot.

  • Read other content articles we have prepared about Malaysia here.

Featured Image Credit score: Wiki Commons / Smartmatic