Wednesday, June 24, 2009

 

Absentee voting and security

The disputed presidential elections in Iran reminded me of an observation a few weeks ago when the European Union held elections for the European Parliament.

Absentee voting, and mail voting in particular, present some interesting security and privacy challenges. For the European election, voters who wanted to cast their vote outside of their electoral district could request absentee ballots to vote in other districts or by mail. In a commendable effort to make voting as convenient as possible, the administration only required name, address and passport number for requesting absentee ballots and delivered them to voters by regular mail, leaving ample room for misuse already.

But I was unpleasantly surprised when I found a sticker(!) on my mailbox indicating that “important electoral mail” had been delivered:

Post.at. In Ihrem Briefkasten befindet sich eine wichtige Wahlsendung …


Well intended for sure, but in my opinion the service orientation really went overboard here. With all the trust in the administration, the electoral process and the people in our neighborhood, privacy and security concerns should be considered.

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