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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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 5:52am

    "Trust me... or else."

    A push for e-voting and prison sentences for anyone who tries to verify how accurate or secure it actually is... there has got to be an easier way for politicians to tell the public that they support the idea of rigging elections(so long as said 'elections' are in their favor of course).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 11 Oct 2016 @ 2:52pm

      Re: "Trust me... or else."

      People wanting to verify the security of the system should just have their research published online by proxy outside of Argentina.

      If someone in Kansas posts the info, Argentina can't do dick about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:42am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:19am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:23am

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

        What happens if Blanco wins? Do they hold new elections with all new candidates?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:01am

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

          In the event of En Blanco's absence, or the inability of the government to locate him, then his successor may be the previous office holder; who can then issue assurances and promised of a through investigation into the disappearance of En Blanco.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Frifrifri, 7 Oct 2016 @ 11:43am

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

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Exequiel, 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:01pm

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

          Blank votes are added to the one candidate who is ahead in the final count.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Zanteago, 7 Oct 2016 @ 8:24pm

          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"

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Cho Seung Hui, 9 Oct 2016 @ 10:53am

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

            Your country forced mandatory voting via brainless NGO on poor lands like peru (Transparency International and their "partners").

            And mandatory voting was main propaganda measure to distort political trends.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2016 @ 10:54am

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

            So distorted it helped to PASS the same problem with e-voting in peru.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:06am

      Re: Wouldn't it be simpler . . .

      Do it like Russia where 150% of the people vote for Putin, including the dead, fictional characters and non-Russian celebrities!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2016 @ 5:42am

        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."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:46am

    all it will take is some deniable schmuck to hack to system for a separate candidate or to engineer a situation like where Woodrow Wilson won, making sure all the candidates have similarly close votes and one guy with slightly more votes than them.
    here's the rope to hang yourself Argentina ------------o

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:50am

    Bringing vote manipulation and rigged elections to the digital future!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 6:59am

    oh yea....

    Nothing is going to go wrong here!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:08am

    > Argentina's plans manage to magnify that folly many times over.

    What folly? It's a feature critical to the system! Who knows what could happen if the Wrong People get elected?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:20am

      Re:

      You could end up disgusting enough of the electorate when your tactics get exposed that Donald Trump ends up President?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:08am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 8:02am

    But making it effectively illegal to point out flaws that exist in practice is really asking for trouble.

    Or making it work as intended.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 8:06am

    The Chicago Gang beat this system.

    One Citizen, One Vote? How amateur. Chicago used "Vote Early, Vote Often" and election vote counts easily exceeded the population. Just because someone's address was their parish cemetery was no reason to not count their vote...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 8:53am

    finally a real solution to the downside of trying to look democratic. now you can safely trumpet democracy up and down the aisles without the least worry that it might actually work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:10am

    Who said ...

    ..that the world couldn't learn something from we Americans?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 9:34am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 10:44am

    This does make some things simpler...

    No need to spend time counting the votes, the results are going to be 86,000,000,000.02 to 0xcccccccc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 11:51am

    No one should vote then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 12:03pm

    Auction

    Thanks to the Russians, we'll see the election up for bid on some .onion addressed marketplace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 12:40pm

    Security through obscurity doesn't work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2016 @ 1:07pm

    Argentina will probably find this out the hard way.

    Or you know it won't because it's illegal to audit it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 4:53pm

    Trust by fiat

    We're bringing in a fully trustworthy voting system...and you WILL TRUST IT OR ELSE!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 7 Oct 2016 @ 7:08pm

    As another country falls towards dictatorship

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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