Monday, August 09, 2004

Not all bad

After all the bad things that have been said about e-voting, finally there's a story which suggests that it has some tangible benefits. The Folha published a story yesterday stating that a new study shows that e-voting can actually reduce the number of invalid votes in an election.

The political scientist, Fernando Limongi, who carried out the research, looking at the number of invalid votes over several elections, discovered that the use of e-voting helped less educated voters make a valid vote in the lower income areas of Sao Paulo. According to him, this can be put down to the the use of colour and party symbols on a machine whereas traditional paper voting tends to use words and numbers for candidates, which isn't so helpful for the illiterate and functionally illiterate.

Back in October 2002 Voxpolitics commented on the use of e-voting for the presidential elections. I was slightly critical then, commenting that some of the machines had to be taken out of service, since the smudge marks from previous voters meant that later voting choices couldn't be read! More recently, my friend James at the same website has published the following article on the dangers that contracting e-voting out from the public sector.

It would be useful if Limongi's research gained a wider audience. Of course, its translation and accessibility on its website would be a step forward. At present I can't seem to find it here.

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