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Non-Voters Back Online Voting System Ahead Of General Election

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

General election voting – Survey finds 42 percent of non-voters would likely vote if online system were in place

A survey has shed some light into the attitudes of many non-voters in the United Kingdom ahead of this week’s General Election.

The survey from broadband advice site Cable.co.uk found that 42 percent of UK adults who do not intend to vote in the 8 June General Election would be more likely to cast their votes if they could do so via the Internet.

Of course, online voting would raise some obvious security issues, but also poses the question as to the reasoning of people who can’t be bothered to visit their local polling station.

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Online Voting

The Cable survey found that most (24 percent) of the non-voters would cast their votes for the Labour party, whilst 16 percent would vote for the Conservatives.

Past research has suggested that elderly people tend to make up the largest tranche of voters in this country. Indeed, the survey found that respondents aged 55 and over were the most likely to be planning to vote tomorrow, with 88 percent confirming they would be heading to a polling station.

For 45 to 54 year-olds, 85 percent said they would vote. The youngest voters, aged 18 to 24, were the next most dedicated, with 79 percent confirming that they intended to turn up and vote.

The survey polled more than 1,700 people who are eligible to vote, and it also found that exactly half of those who were still deciding whether or not to vote said there would be a better chance of them doing so if they could go online to do it.

And it seems that online voting is not the most important thing for the 18 to 24 year old voters, with only 31 percent of all respondents in this age group saying it would make them more likely to vote.

“It seems that if voting were made easier, more of us would do it,” said Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk. “Makes sense, but it’s nevertheless somewhat shocking that so many with no plans to vote would do so if it saved them a short trip to the nearest polling station.”

“Online voting is almost certainly the future,” Howdle added. “The key question is whether such a system can be adopted in a way that is beyond the potential interference from hackers.”

Security Questions

Of course, an online voting system raises big security questions in light of ongoing claims that Russian hackers were able to influence the US Presidential elections last year.

Last year hackers managed to attack the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec), in a hack that affected about 55 million people, which was considered to be the largest hack of government-held data ever.

Prior to that hackers published a leaked database on more than 49 million Turkish voters, which contained sensitive information such as detailed records, including parents’ names and addresses, on every person listed.

Poll: Who are you backing in the general election?