Thursday, 24 February 2011

Guido gets it wrong on ERS and electronic voting

Guido Fawkes has written a post about the links between the Yes campaign in the referendum on a fairer voting system and the Electoral Reform Society. He makes great play about the Society's supposed stance in favour of e-voting in public elections.

As evidence, Guido quotes from a report which I helped to write when I worked for ERS. He quotes the view of the Society at that point that e-voting and other new technologies could help to increase turnout.

That was indeed the Society's view before pilots took place in a variety of local elections across the UK. However the evidence of the pilots was that such alternative methods didn't increase turnout and so the Society changed its view. Unfortunately, Guido chooses simply to quote from the old document and to ignore the updated policy.

Of all the methods trialled, electronic voting, telephone, text and online voting all failed completely to increase turnout which was their stated aim. The only method which did increase turnout was all-postal voting in which every elector was sent a ballot paper to their registered address. Unfortunately this opened the way to widespread fraud and so was dropped as a result.

ERS hoped that new voting technologies would increase turnout in public elections. We were proved wrong and so we changed our policy.

As Keynes said:
When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

1 comment:

Guido Fawkes said...

ERS Ltd sell and implement electronic voting systems. £1m of Yes2AV funding originated from ERS Ltd.

You are going on about text messaging voting and other irrelevant airy fairy crap.

I'm pointing at the bread and butter of a multi-million pound business fund the Yes campaign.