Even though the voting process in the UK is currently not electronic, 40% of Brits surveyed by Avast in the last three days still expressed worries that the election may be targeted by hackers in some way, with only 24% claiming they were not worried at all.
Despite 57% of the Association of Election Administrators’ (AEA) recently voting in support of introducing an online voting option in elections, the fear that cybercriminals could potentially influence the democratic process in the UK is holding the British public back from embracing an online voting system.
Only 7% of respondents would trust an electronic voting system a great deal. Complete trust in the voting system is, of course, a critical characteristic in any democracy. In total, over half (52%) claimed that an electronic voting system was not trustworthy.
The Conservatives, Labour and The Liberal Democrats have all dropped support for e-voting from their manifestoes, despite the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy calling, in January 2015, for e-voting to be an “option for all voters” by 2020.
“The claims that Russian hackers have had some influence on last year’s US Presidential Elections has sparked a wave of scepticism around the safety of electronic voting here in the UK” said Pete Turner, Consumer Security Expert at Avast.
However, a further 30% of Brits surveyed by Avast were in favour of the adoption of e-voting, perhaps driven by factors such as increasing voter turnout on days of inclement weather, and easing the process for UK nationals living abroad, who currently must vote through post or proxy.
On the whole, the survey shows that the demand for and benefits of e-voting are being overshadowed by fears that an electronic system could be manipulated by outside forces.
“The move to digital is a necessary part of evolving the electoral process for the benefit of the public. Rather than simply abandoning the move to e-voting, politicians need to reassure the public that, when the move to e-voting does take place, that the proper security measures are in place to ensure that the democratic process is not open to abuse.” Mr. Turner continued.