Argentina Not Only Wants To Bring In E-Voting, It Will Make It Illegal To Check The System For Electoral Fraud

from the this-is-fine dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about Australia’s refusal to allow researchers to check e-voting software being used in that country. The situation in Argentina seems to be even worse. Access Now provides the background (original in Spanish):

The ruling party in Argentina is driving the adoption of an electronic voting system for national elections. Despite stern warnings from computer security experts about the dangers of the system, the ruling party is persisting with the project and plans to put it to a vote in Congress in the coming weeks.

Techdirt readers hardly need to be reminded about the deeply-flawed nature of e-voting systems, but there’s a useful article on Medium (in Spanish) with plenty of links to hispanophone experts from widely-different backgrounds warning against the move.

Imposing an e-voting system may be foolish, but Argentina’s plans manage to magnify that folly many times over. A blog post in Spanish by Javier Smaldone explains why:

The proposal provides for imprisonment (1 to 6 years) for conducting activities that are essential in any audit or independent review of the system.

Thus, it is intended to impose the use of computer system in the casting and counting of votes, and as if it were not already extremely difficult for any citizen to be sure how it works (and it is safe), anyone who tries to find out is punished with imprisonment.

It’s one thing to bring in an e-voting system that most experts say is a bad idea in theory. But making it effectively illegal to point out flaws that exist in practice is really asking for trouble. Unless this proposed law is changed to allow independent scrutiny of the systems, Argentina will probably find this out the hard way.

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Comments on “Argentina Not Only Wants To Bring In E-Voting, It Will Make It Illegal To Check The System For Electoral Fraud”

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33 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

Wouldn't it be simpler . . .

Just have a one party, one candidate system.

Make it a mandatory requirement for everyone to vote. That ensures high voter turnout, eliminating a common criticism.

Ballots are identified with each voter — to ensure the integrity of the system that every voter voted, and exactly once.

This improved system would not only avoid confusion about who to vote for, it would streamline the entire electoral process.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Wouldn't it be simpler . . .

Make it a mandatory requirement for everyone to vote. That ensures high voter turnout, eliminating a common criticism.

Argentina already has this. Aside from a few very narrow exceptions, all citizens of voting age are required to vote. However, it is legal to votar en blanco (cast a blank ballot,) which is regarded as a protest vote.

Zanteago says:

Re: Re: Re: Wouldn't it be simpler . . .

No. Blank votes are sustracted from the total. That’s why a blank vote normally express “i don’t care, i’m just here cause it’s mandatory”, but only helps the leader increasing his %. Truely protest votes are made nuling your envelope, because those are part of the total.

After the 2001 crisis, people put into the voting envelopes pictures of the “founding fathers”. They also put prints of Clemente, a cartoon character with no arms, with the legend “he has no arms, he can’t steal”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Wouldn't it be simpler . . .

He’s been in in power since 1999 and isn’t going away anytime soon. From Investopedia:

“There is an election coming in Russia in 2018, and the big question is if current President Vladimir Putin will rule for a fourth consecutive term. It is a serious question with geopolitical and economic implications. If Putin runs and wins, which seems likely at this point, it means he will have had control of one of the world’s most influential countries for 24 years. This is exactly how long Joseph Stalin ruled the USSR; 24 years spans six presidential terms in the United States.”

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That is the real insight.

The people at the top corrupting, manipulating, and rigging all the controls of government, power and wealth may be surprised if something like that would happen for that reason.

And they cannot control the person who gets elected.

And that person is a lose cannon (sic). And things end up going very badly.

But hey, they brought it on themself, and upon the rest of us.

Hugo S Cunningham (profile) says:

Inspired by Venezuela?

Chavista Venezuela pioneered reliable E-voting technology in the 20-noughts. Now Argentina’s right-leaning government is picking up the idea and improving on it. In an era of so much negativity and ideology-based obstructionism, it is heartwarming to see such cooperation “across the aisle”: one man, one vote, one time only.

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