Vote. Online. Secretly.
Many of us know and using online decision tools like Doodle in teams, working groups or the whole organization. We are collaborating and communication online. Our NGO structures get more and more digitalized. But there are still things we need to do “offline”. On the things is secret voting. Still there are even countries like Estonia which are using Internet voting for their national elections. So why shouldn’t we be able to use it for our organizations?
The main question is how do you define a secret vote over the Internet. The principles from a secret paper vote are that you need to:
- separate the identification and the actual casting of votes,
- make it difficult to influence the system by changing casted votes / connecting votes to people and
- design the system in a way that it’s possible to monitor it easily.
The third point is not possible in digital voting in general, so we have to live with a system we need to trust without really being able to check what is going on there. Using Open Source software helps at least a bit because it shows some of the processes. But the first and second aspects are possible to implement. And that’s what a system should have.
At the moment there are only crappy, expensive tools where you can’t be sure about secrecy or security. Crappy in the way of user interface and guidance as well as not transparent. Nothing I would recommend to use because it’s not clear how they are working and it’s not sure if there approach is secure. And here is my point: If you really want to use such a software, you need to use one where you have at least some trust in the secrecy of the voting process. Otherwise you should make a transparent voting process. Because there is no half-secret voting.
As you can see this is an opening for innovation and new tools. Please write me if you know about a tool which can be used for secret online voting in NGO or if you are interested to develop one.
First published on nolabelproject.org.