Electronic voting by country

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Election technology

The following is a list of examples of electronic voting from elections around the world. Examples include polling place voting electronic voting and Internet voting.

Summary of status of electronic voting in parliamentary elections by country
Country Technology currently used in elections Year of introduction Notes
National Municipal
Australia No Some 2001 During the 2007 federal election, electronic voting was made available for blind and low-vision persons. Since 2001, in Australian Capital Territory elections and since 2015 in New South Wales state elections.
Belgium no no 1999
Brazil Yes Yes 1996
Canada No Some Several reviews into use in federal elections concluded against using it
Estonia Yes Yes 2005
Finland No No n/a Trialled 2008; Review in 2016-17 concluded against internet voting - risks outweighed benefits
France ? ? ? 2017 review concluded against introducing internet voting
Germany No No n/a Trialled in 2005, but court found it unconstitutional in 2009
India Yes Yes 2004 [1]
Ireland No No 2002 System scrapped in 2010
Italy ? ? 2006
Kazakhstan No No 2004 Discontinued 2011
Lithuania No No n/a Internet voting to be introduced in 2020?
Namibia 2014
Netherlands No 1990s Discontinued 2007
Norway No No n/a Trialled 2003
Philippines Yes Yes 2010 Currently in review by Congress due to technical glitches, defective vote-counting machines, SD cards and transparency issues.
Romania Limited trial 2003
South Korea For central counting of ballot papers only
Spain No No
Switzerland Internet voting for expatriates only from 2014
United Arab Emirates Yes
United Kingdom No Used for central counting of ballots in Scotland from 2007
United States of America No No
Venezuela Yes 1998


Used in provincial elections in Salta since 2009 and in local elections in Buenos Aires City in 2015.



The first known use of the term CyberVote was by Midac in 1995 when they ran a web based vote regarding the French nuclear testing in the Pacific region. The resulting petition was delivered to the French government on a Syquest removable hard disk.[2]

In October 2001 electronic voting was used for the first time in an Australian parliamentary election. In that election, 16,559 voters (8.3% of all votes counted) cast their votes electronically at polling stations in four places.[3] The Victorian State Government introduced electronic voting on a trial basis for the 2006 State election.[4]


Approximately 300,000 impaired Australians voted independently for the first time in the 2007 elections. The Australian Electoral Commission has decided to implement voting machines in 29 locations.[5]

Internet voting[edit]

In 2007 Australian Defence Force and Defence civilian personnel deployed on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands had the opportunity to vote via the Defence Restricted Network with an Australian Electoral Commission and Defence Department joint pilot project.[6] After votes were recorded, they were encrypted and transmitted from a Citrix server to the REV database A total of 2012 personnel registered for and 1511 votes were successfully cast in the pilot,[7] costing an estimated $521 per vote.[8] Electronically submitted votes were printed following polling day, and dispatched to the relevant Divisions for counting.[8]


Electronic voting in Belgium started in 1991. It is widely used in Belgium for general and municipal elections and has been since 1999. Electronic voting in Belgium has been based on two systems known as Jites and Digivote. Both of these have been characterized as "indirect recording electronic voting systems" because the voting machine does not directly record and tabulate the vote, but instead, serves as a ballot marking device.[9] Both the Jites and Digivote systems record ballots on cardboard magnetic stripe cards. Voters deposit their voted ballots into a ballot box that incorporates a magnetic stripe reader to tabulate the vote. In the event of a controversy, the cards can be recounted by machine.[10]


Electronic voting in Brazil was introduced in 1996, when the first tests were carried in the state of Santa Catarina. Since 2000, all Brazilian elections have been fully electronic. By the 2000 and 2002 elections more than 400,000 electronic voting machines were used nationwide in Brazil and the results were tallied electronically within minutes after the polls closed.[3]


Federal and provincial elections use paper ballots, but electronic voting has been used since at least the 1990s in some municipalities. Today optical scan voting systems are common in municipal elections.

Committee reports and analysis from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia have all recommended against provincial Internet voting. A federal committee has recommended against national Internet voting.

Some municipalities in Ontario and Nova Scotia provide Internet voting.

There are no Canadian electronic voting standards.


Electronic voting was first used in Estonia during the October 2005 local elections. Estonia became the first country to have legally binding general elections using the Internet as a means of casting the vote. The option of voting via the Internet in the local election was available nationally. It was declared a success by the Estonian election officials,[11] with 9,317 people voting online.

In 2007 Estonia held its and the world's first national Internet election. Voting was available from February 26 to 28.[12] A total of 30,275 citizens used Internet voting.[13]

In the 2009 local municipal elections, 104,415 people voted over the Internet.[14] This means that roughly 9,5% of the persons with the right to vote gave their vote over the Internet.[15]

In the 2011 parliamentary elections between 24 February and March 2, 140,846 people cast their votes online. 96% of the electronic votes were cast in Estonia and 4% by Estonian citizens residing in 106 foreign countries.[16]

In the 2014 European Parliament elections 31.3% of all participating voters gave their vote over the Internet.[17]

In the 2019 parliamentary elections 43.75% of all participating voters gave their vote over the Internet.

EU CyberVote Project[edit]

In September 2000, the European Commission launched the CyberVote project with the aim of demonstrating "fully verifiable on-line elections guaranteeing absolute privacy of the votes and using fixed and mobile Internet terminals".[3] Trials were performed in Sweden, France, and Germany.[18]


Internet-enabled DRE machines, supplied by the company Scytl,[19] were piloted in the October 2008 municipal elections in three municipalities (Karkkila, Kauniainen and Vihti). While the government still considers the pilot program a success,[20] 232 voters encountered a usability flaw resulting in their votes not being registered.[20] Because of the uncounted votes, the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland ordered new elections in these municipalities.

On October 24, 2016 the Finnish government announced it would study the introduction of national online voting.[21] On February 21, 2017 the working group studying Internet voting for Finland launched, with a target date for completion of its work of November 30, 2017.[22] The working group recommended against Internet voting, concluding that the risks outweighed the benefits.[23]


In January 2007 France's UMP party held a national presidential primary using both remote electronic voting and with 750 polling stations using touch screen electronic voting over the Internet. The election resulted in over 230,000 votes representing a near 70% turnout.[24]

Elections in France utilized remote Internet voting for the first time in 2003 when French citizens living in the United States elected their representatives to the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad. Over 60% of voters chose to vote using the Internet rather than paper. The Forum des droits sur l'Internet (Internet rights forum), published a recommendation on the future of electronic voting in France, stating that French citizens abroad should be able to use Internet voting for Assembly of the French Citizens Abroad elections.[25] This recommendation became reality in 2009, with 6000 French citizens choosing to make use of the system.[26]

On March 6, 2017 France announced that Internet voting (which had previously been offered to citizens abroad) would not be permitted in the 2017 legislative elections due to cybersecurity concerns.[27][28]


In Germany the only accredited voting machines after testing by the PTB for national and local elections are the ESD1 and ESD2 from the Dutch company Nedap. About 2000 of them have been used in the 2005 Bundestag elections covering approximately 2 million voters.[29] These machines differ only in certain details due to different voting systems from the ES3B hacked by a Dutch citizen group and the Chaos Computer Club on October 5, 2006.[30][31] Because of this, additional security measures have been applied in the municipality elections on 22. October 2006 in Cottbus, including reading the software from the EPROM to compare it with the source and sealing the machines afterwards.[32] The city of Cottbus ultimately decided not to purchase the Nedap voting system it had previously been leasing.[33]

At the moment there are several lawsuits in court against the use of electronic voting machines in Germany.[34][35] One of these reached the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in February 2007.[36] Critics cite a lack transparency when recording the votes as intended by the voter and concerns relating to recounts. The certified Nedap machines are DRE systems which do not produce any paper records.

Following a 2005 pilot study during the national elections, wide public support and a unianimous decision by the Senate launched a plan for the implementation of an optical scan voting system based on digital paper in the 2008 state elections of Hamburg.[37][38] After public claims in September 2007 by the Fraktion der Grünen/GAL and the Chaos Computer Club that the system was vulnerable, the Federal Election Office (Bundeswahlamt) found in public surveys that public distrust of the system was evident. Due to concerns over public confidence, plans for use of the new voting system were canceled.[citation needed]

Germany ended electronic voting in 2009, with the German Federal Constitutional Court finding that the inability to have meaningful public scrutiny meant that electronic voting was unconstitutional.[39]


Electronic voting was first introduced in 1982 and was used on an experimental basis in the North Paravur assembly constituency in the State of Kerala. However the Supreme Court of India struck down this election as against the law in A. C. Jose v. Sivan Pillai case. Amendments were made to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to legalise elections using Electronic Voting Machines. In 2003, all state elections and by-elections were held using EVMs.[3]

The EVMs were also used during the national elections held for the Parliament of India in 2004 and 2009. According to the statistics available through the mainstream media, more than 400 million voters (about 60% of India's eligible voters) exercised their franchise through EVMs in 2009 elections. Tallying such a large number of votes took just a few hours.

In India, Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system was introduced in 8 of 543 parliamentary constituencies as a pilot project in 2014 Indian general election.[40][41][42][43] VVPAT was implemented in Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Bangalore South, Chennai Central, Jadavpur, Raipur, Patna Sahib and Mizoram constituencies.[44][45][46][47][48][49] Voter-verified paper audit trail was first used in an election in India in September 2013 in Noksen in Nagaland.[50][51]


From the initial introduction in 1982, to the country-wide use of EVM in 2004, the Election Commission of India took long and measured steps spanning over a period of nearly two decades, in the matter of electronic voting. In the meanwhile, general elections to various legislative assemblies, and numerous by-elections and two general elections to the Lok Sabha have been conducted using EVMs at all polling stations. The tamper-proof technological soundness of the EVM has been endorsed by a technical experts subcommittee appointed at the initiative of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms in 1990. This experts committee (1990) was headed by Prof. S. Sampath, then Chairman RAC, Defence Research and Development Organisation, with Prof. P. V. Indiresan, then with IIT Delhi, and Dr C. Rao Kasarabada, then Director Electronic Research and Development Center, Trivandrum as members. Subsequently, the Commission has also been consulting a group of technical experts comprising Prof. P. V. Indiresan (who was also part of the earlier committee referred to above) and Prof. D. T. Sahani and Prof A. K. Agarwal both of IIT Delhi, regularly, on all EVM related technical issues.[citation needed]

The Commission has in place elaborate administrative measures and procedural checks and balances aimed at total transparency and prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses. These measures include rigorous pre-election checking of each EVM by the technicians, two level randomization with the involvement of political parties, candidates, their agents, for the random allotment of the EVMs to various constituencies and subsequently to various polling stations, preparation of the EVMs for elections in the presence of the candidates/their agents, and the Election Observers, provision for various thread seal and paper seal protection against any unauthorized access to the EVMs after preparation, mock poll in the presence of polling agents and mock poll certification system before the commencement of poll, post poll sealing and strong room protection, randomization of counting staff, micro observers at the counting tables, and so on.[citation needed]

The Election Commission of India is amply satisfied about the non-tamperability and the fool-proof working of the EVMs. The Commission's confidence in the efficacy of the EVMs has been fortified by the judgments of various courts and the views of technical experts. The Karnataka High Court has hailed the EVM as ‘a national pride’ (judgment dated 5.2.2004 in Michael B. Fernandes v. C. K. Jaffer Sharrief and others in E.P. No 29 of 1999). The Election commission issued a press brief after the 2009 Indian general election, clarifying the same[52][citation needed] On 8 October 2013, Supreme Court of India delivered its verdict on Dr. Subramanian Swamy's PIL, that the Election Commission of India will use VVPATs along with EVMs in a phased manner and the full completion should be achieved by 2019 Indian general election.[53][54][55][56][57]

Internet voting[edit]

In April 2011 Gujarat became the first Indian state to experiment with Internet voting.[58][59]


Ireland bought voting machines from the Dutch company Nedap for about €40 million. The machines were used on a 'pilot' basis in 3 constituencies for the 2002 Irish general election and a referendum on the Treaty of Nice. Following a public report by the Commission on Electronic Voting, then Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Martin Cullen again delayed the use of the machines [60]

On 23 April 2009, the Minister for the Environment John Gormley announced that the electronic voting system was to be scrapped by an as yet undetermined method[clarification needed], due to cost and the public's dissatisfaction with the current system.[61]

On 6 October 2010, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen said that the 7,000 machines would not be used for voting and would be disposed of.[62] As of October 2010, the total cost of the electronic voting project has reached €54.6 million, including €3 million spent on storing the machines over the previous five years.[62]


On 9 and 10 April 2006 the Italian municipality of Cremona used Nedap Voting machines in the national elections. The pilot involved 3000 electors and 4 polling stations were equipped with Nedap systems. The electoral participation was very high and the pilot was successful.[63]

In the same elections (April 2006) the Ministry of New Technologies in cooperation with two big American companies organized a pilot only concerning e-counting. The experiment involved four regions and it cost 34 million euro.[citation needed]


In 2003, the Kazakh Central Election Commission entered into a partnership with the United Institute of Informatics Problems of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus to develop an electronic voting system. This system, known as the Sailau Electronic Voting System (АИС «Сайлау»), saw its first use in Kazakhstan's 2004 Parliamentary elections. The final form of the system, as used in the presidential election of 2005 and the parliamentary election of 2007, has been described as using "indirect recording electronic voting." In this case, voters signing into use the Sailau system were issued smart cards holding the ballot to be voted. Voters then carried these cards to a voting booth, where they used the Sailau touch-screen ballot marking device to record their votes on the card. Finally, the voters returned the ballot cards to the sign-in table where the ballot was read from the card into the electronic "ballot box" before the card was erased for reuse by another voter.[64]

On Nov. 16, 2011, Kuandyk Turgankulov, head of the Kazakh Central Election Commission, said that use of the Sailau system would be discontinued because voters prefer paper, the political parties do not trust it, and the lack of funds required to update the system.[65]


Lithuania is planning national online voting, with a target of 20% of votes cast online by 2020.[66]

The Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is quoted however as stating concerns that online voting would not ensure confidentiality and security.[67]


In 2014, Namibia became the first African nation to use electronic voting machines.[68] Electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the election were provided by Bharat Electronics Limited, an Indian state owned company.


From the late 1990s until 2007, voting machines were used extensively in elections. Most areas in the Netherlands used electronic voting in polling places. After security problems with the machines were widely publicized, they were banned in 2007.

The most widely used voting machines were produced by the company Nedap.[69] In the 2006 parliamentary elections, 21,000 persons used the Rijnland Internet Election System to cast their vote.

On 5 October 2006 the group "Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet" ("We do not trust voting machines") demonstrated on Dutch television how the Nedap ES3B machines could be manipulated in five minutes. The tampering of the software would not be recognisable by voters or election officials.[30] [70]

Apparently there was a case of an election official misinforming voters of when their vote is recorded and later recording it himself in municipality elections in Landerd, Netherlands in 2006. A candidate was also an election official and received the unusual amount of 181 votes in the polling place where he was working. In the other three polling places combined he received only 11 votes.[71] Only circumstantial evidence could be found, because the voting machine was a direct-recording electronic voting machine; in a poll by a local newspaper the results were totally different. The case is still[when?] under prosecution.[72]

Van Eck phreaking might also compromise the secrecy of the votes in an election using electronic voting. This made the Dutch government ban the use of computer voting machines manufactured by SDU in the 2006 national elections, fearing that secret ballots may not be kept secret.[73]

In September 2007 a committee chaired by Korthals Altes reported to the government that it would be better to return to paper voting. The deputy minister for the interior Ank Bijleveld said in a first response she would accept the committee's advice, and ban electronic voting. The committee also concluded that the time wasn't ready for voting over the Internet.[74] State secretary Ank Bijleveld responded by announcing a return to paper voting.[citation needed]. It was reported in September 2007 that "a Dutch judge has declared the use of Nedap e-voting machines in recent Dutch elections unlawful." [75]

On February 1, 2017 the Dutch government announced that all ballots in the 2017 general election would be counted by hand.[76][77]


The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development of Norway carried out pilots in three municipalities at local elections in 2011 on voting machines in the polling stations using touch screens.[3]

Norway tried to conduct voting by using the online voting method and it “did not increase voter turnout, not even among younger demographics.” [78] People in Norway wanted to ensure that there was high voter confidence and believed that online voting would bring along with it security and political controversy. There are firsthand accounts given of some of the worries that are present with the introduction of a technology such as online voting.

The use of the Internet in elections is a fairly recent concept and as with any new technology it will undergo a certain amount of scrutiny until people can fully trust it and implement it into worldwide elections. Critics of online voting argued that online voting isn't secure enough and thus creates a large amount of skeptics who oppose the use of online voting, which in turn will result in a challenge to implement online voting as the primary method of casting votes. Another area that people are worried about is the process of authentication of votes. In other words, what process will voters have to go through to ensure that they are who they say they are?

The Institute of Social Research in Norway conducted a study in which we can see signs that voters are afraid that their votes will become public, which they will see as a compromise of their democratic rights. In addition, voters’ fears are embedded in the encryption system that guards the privacy of their votes. How can voters be sure that their votes are safe from hackers? This led them to believe that in order to make this a viable voting system, governments have to ensure that the encryption system used to protect votes is as safe as possible. Until governments can ensure a certain level of safety for people's votes, the outcomes in Norway are unlikely to change - the voter turnout will still be low even if the convenience of voting is made easier.[79]


In May 2010, the government of the Philippines planned to carry out its first ever entirely electronically tabulated election, using and optical scan voting system. The government invested $160 million into the new system.[80] This included the electronic voting machines, printers, servers, power generators, memory cards, batteries, and broadband and satellite transmission equipment. This national implementation of electronic voting was intended to increase the accuracy and speed of vote tallying.[81] In addition, it was expected to decrease the fraud and corruption found in past Philippine elections.

On May 3, 2010, the Philippines pre-tested the electronic voting systems. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) found 76,000 of the total 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan Machines to have faulty memory cards.[82][83] The machines had miscounted votes and had given some votes to the rival candidate. After discovering discrepancies between manual and automated voting tallies, the memory cards were changed throughout the country. Many Filipino voters became skeptical of the e-voting system after the national recall. Because of past violent elections, 250,000 troops were placed on high alert around the country.[84] These forces were instructed to guard the machines and voting stations in order to preempt any violent protests against the system. Some election officials attempted to postpone the May 10 election day but elections proceeded as scheduled.[85]

On May 10, 2010, the Philippines had its first presidential election using electronic voting. Comelec reported that only 400 of the 82,000 machines malfunctioned. Most voter complaints were related to waiting in long lines and learning the new technology.


Romania first implemented electronic voting systems in 2003,[86] on a limited basis, to extend voting capabilities to soldiers and others serving in Iraq, and other theaters of war. Despite the publicly stated goal of fighting corruption, the equipment was procured and deployed in less than 30 days[87] after the government edict passed.

South Korea[edit]

Elections in South Korea use a central-count system with optical scanners at each regional election office. A separate ballot paper is used for each office being contested, and votes are cast using red ink and a rubber stamp. Ballots are similar in size to paper currency, and the optical scanners resemble cash sorter machines. After the ballots are sorted, stacks of ballots are counted using machines resembling currency counting machines. The Korean system has been praised as a model of best practice, but it has also been the subject of controversy, including questions about its legality and allegations of rigged counting in 2012.[88][89]


In 2014, during its first party congress, the political party Podemos, conducted 3 elections using Agora Voting open source software to vote via the Internet on a series of documents which would determine the political and organizative principles of the party (112070 voters), the resolutions the party will adopt (38279 voters), and the people that would fill the positions defined by this structure (107488 voters).[90] After the municipal elections carried out in May 2015 several city mayors have announced their plans to carry out public consultation processes using electronic voting.


Several cantons (Geneva, Neuchâtel and Zürich) have developed Internet voting test projects to allow citizens to vote via the Internet.[91]

In 2009 and 2011, the 110,000 Swiss voters living abroad will have the option of voting using the Internet through a new pilot project introduced in September 2008.[92]

Up until the vote on February 9, 2014, internet voting was only open to expatriates who lived in the countries in the Wassenaar Arrangement because of their communication standards. After this vote in 2014, internet voting has opened to all expatriates of Switzerland. Although this will cause more risk with voting from abroad, it will allow more people to participate in voting, and there no longer has to be a separation of expatriates during voting and registration. [93]

On February 27, 2017 Swiss Post announced that it was offering a public demonstration version of its e-voting system.[94] The Swiss Post solution has been used in Fribourg and will be used in Neuchâtel.

On November 2, 2018, it was reported that Swiss Post has invited hackers from around the world to participate in a four-week public intrusion test, to take place in Spring 2019.[95] Sign-ups are accepted until 31 December 2018: pit.post.ch

On December 19, 2018, the Swiss Federal Council completed the legislation to approve electronic voting and submitted it for consultation (Vernehmlassung).[96]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

UAE Federal National Council and 2005 Elections[edit]

On December 2, 1971,[97] with the adoption of the constitution, the federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was officially established. A few months later, in February 1972, the country's first ever federal national council (FNC) was set up as the country's legislative and constitutional body. In 2005, the UAE held its first national elections. This was recognized as a step forward to enhance a well-structured political participation in line with citizens’ aspirations, and as a major milestone towards modernization and development of the federation.

2011 Federal National Council Elections[edit]

After the first electoral experience in the UAE in 2005, the National Election Committee (NEC) approved electronic voting[98] instead of traditional voting procedures as it had been attracting the attention of governments around the world. The same election model was used for the 2011 FNC elections, except for the electoral college, where the number of voters increased from around 6,000 to almost 130,000.

The 2011 FNC elections were considered to be more challenging due to the short time frame and the size of the electoral college, as well as the fact that the majority of voters were first-time voters and had never seen a ballot box. The government decided to take innovative steps to encourage participation and introduced technology-driven systems to facilitate the overall program. Hence a process was designed which required detailed planning in the areas of site preparation and capacity computation, technical infrastructure development, communication planning, addressing logistical and staff requirements, and the overall specifications of the electronic voting system.

United Kingdom[edit]


Voting pilots have taken place in May 2006,[99] June 2004,[100] May 2003,[101] May 2002, and May 2000.

In 2000, the London Mayoral and Assembly elections were counted using an optical scan voting system with software provided by DRS plc of Milton Keynes. In 2004, the London Mayoral, Assembly and European Parliamentary elections were scanned and processed using optical character recognition from the same company. Both elections required some editing of the ballot design to facilitate electronic tabulation, though they differed only slightly from the previous 'mark with an X' style ballots.[citation needed]

As of January 2016, the UK Parliament has no plans to introduce electronic voting for statutory elections, either using electronic voting in polling booths or remotely via the internet.[102]


An optical scan voting system was used to electronically count paper ballots in the Scottish Parliament general election and Scottish council elections in 2007.[103][104] A report commissioned by the UK Electoral Commission found significant errors in ballot design produced more than 150,000 spoilt votes.[105] The BBC reported that 86,000 constituency ballots and 56,000 list ballots were rejected, with suggestions that it was caused by voters being asked to vote for both sections of the election on the same ballot paper, rather than on separate ballots as had been the case in the previous elections.[106] In addition to this, Scottish Parliamentary elections and Scottish council elections use different electoral systems. The council elections uses single transferable vote, a preferential voting system, while the Parliament elections uses the additional member system; the former requires the voter to place numbers in order of their preference, while the latter requires a cross to indicate their single preference.

The electronic counting was used again in the 2012 and 2017 council elections without any problems being detected.

United States of America[edit]

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 requires states and territories to allow overseas military personnel and citizens to vote in federal elections. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009 amended this law to require delivery of ballots by at least one electronic means (email, fax, or web site). As of September 2016, submission of ballots is done by mail in 18 states; the other states and the District of Columbia allow submission by one or more of email, fax, or secure web site.[107]

States that allow remote electronic voting outside of UOCAVA:[107]

  • Alaska allows fax and web voting by any registered voter
  • Hawaii allows email voting by any permanent absentee voter who has not received a ballot within five days of an election
  • Idaho allows email and fax voting in declared emergencies
  • Utah allows email and fax voting for those with disabilities

Timeline of development[edit]

  • 1964: The Norden-Coleman optical scan voting system, the first such system to see actual use, was adopted for use in Orange County, California.[108]
  • 1974: The Video Voter, the first DRE voting machine used in a government election, developed by the Frank Thornber Company in Chicago, Illinois, saw its first trial use in 1974 near Chicago.[109]
  • Mar. 1975:The U.S. Government is given a report by Roy Saltman, a consultant in developing election technology and policies, in which the certification of voting machines is analyzed for the first time.
  • Aug 28, 1986: The Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) requires that US states allow certain groups of citizens to register and vote absentee in elections for federal offices.[110]
  • 1990: The FEC (Federal Election Commission) released a universalized standard for computerized voting.
  • 1996: The Reform Party uses I-Voting (Internet Voting) to select their presidential candidate. This election is the first governmental election to use this method in the U.S.


  • May 2002:The FEC revised the standards established for electronic voting from 1990.
  • Nov 2004: 4,438 of votes in the general election is lost by North Carolina’s electronic voting machines. The machines continued to count electronic votes past the device's memory capacity and the votes were irretrievably lost.
  • Dec 2005: Black Box Voting showed how easy it is to hack an electronic voting system. Computer experts in Leon County, Fl lead a simulation where they changed the outcome of a mock election by tampering with the tabulator without leaving evidence of their actions.
  • Sep 13, 2006: It was demonstrated that Diebold Electronic Voting Machine can be hacked in less than a minute. Princeton's Professor of Computer Science, Edward Felten who installed a malware which could steal votes and replace them with fraudulent numbers without physically coming in contact with the voting machine or its memory card. The malware can also program a virus that can spread from machine to machine.
  • Sep 21, 2006: The governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich (R), advised against casting electronic votes as an alternative method for casting paper absentee ballots. This was a complete turn around since Maryland became one of the first states to accept electronic voting systems statewide during his term.
  • Sep 3, 2009: Diebold, responsible for much of the technology in the election-systems business, sells their hold to Election Systems & Software, Inc for $5 Million, less than 1/5 of its price seven years earlier.


  • Oct 28, 2009: The federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (MOVE) requires US states to provide ballots to UOCAVA voters in at least one electronic format (email, fax, or an online delivery system).[113]
  • Jan 3, 2013: Voter Empowerment Act of 2013 – This act requires each US state to make available public websites for online voter registration.[114]
  • Spring 2019: Department of Defense DARPA announces $10 million contract for secure, open-source election system prototypes based on the agency's SSITH secure hardware platform work: a touch screen ballot-marking device to demo at the annual DEF CON hacker conference in summer 2019 and an optical scan system to read hand-marked paper ballots targeted for DEF CON 2020.[115][116][117]

Astronauts in orbit[edit]

Texas law has allowed American astronauts who cannot vote in person and are unable to vote via absentee ballot, such as those aboard the International Space Station and Mir space station, to cast their ballots in federal elections electronically from orbit since 1997. Ballots are sent via secure email to the Johnson Spaceflight Center and then passed on to the astronauts' home counties in Texas.[118][119]

2000 Arizona Democratic presidential primary Internet election[edit]

In March 2000 the Arizona Democratic Party ran its Presidential Primary over the internet using the private company votation.com.[120] The announcement received significant press coverage around the world, covered in virtually every country and medium as a test of whether internet voting could actually work in a statewide election.[121]

Voting Rights Act lawsuits[edit]

Several attempts were made to stop the election, including a lawsuit instigated by the Virginia-based Voting Integrity Project,[122] which claimed that Internet voting would disadvantage African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, all protected classes under the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Integrity Project, along with two African American and two Hispanic plaintiffs, claimed that by allowing Internet voting, minority groups, which at that time had less access to the internet, would have their collective voting power proportionately reduced.[123] The plaintiff's sought an injunction to stop the election.[124] The lawsuit, along with other factors, was depleting the resources of the Arizona Democratic Party. The court had to determine if the voting rights act applied, since this election was being conducted by the Democratic Party itself, not the state or country government; the plaintiff's argued it was. The court also had to decide if the election was unfairly diluting the minority vote, given the plaintiffs' claims that whites were more likely to vote over the internet than non-whites. Several organizations filed amicus briefs in support of the Democratic Party and the Internet election, including the Benjamin E. Mayes National Education Resource Center, the Center of Government Studies, and Professor Charles Nesson of Harvard Law School.[125] On March 2, 2000 Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt, of the United States District Court in Phoenix, issued its decision. While the court agreed with the plaintiffs that this was a public election,[126] it also noted in its decision that there were other ways to vote, including absentee ballot by mail, and voting at polling places, and thus there was no basis to stop the election. The court denied the request for an injunction to stop the election.[126][127]

Civil rights concerns[edit]

Serious concerns about internet were also raised by civil rights organizations around the United States.[128][129] Native American support is particularly important in Arizona, where they numbered more than 250,000.[130] The states two most prominent leaders were Apache leader John Lewis, president of the Inter-Tribal Counsel, and Kelsey A. Begaye President of the Navajo Nation. The outreach efforts by Election.com CEO, Joe Mohen, and the Arizona Democratic Party to Native Americans were particularly successful, such that the Voting Integrity Project was unable to recruit even one Native American to be a plaintiff in their case, and The Navajo leadership, including President Kelsey Begaye, prominent Native American leaders posed for Television Cameras when they later voted over the internet.[131]

On February 24, 2000, the Department of Justice granted pre-clearance for the election.[132][133]

Security threats[edit]

Many public threats by hackers were made that they would bring down the election. These threats ranged from to denial of service attacks[134] and voter identity theft. The election software was audited by KPMG.[135] While the original plan was to use VeriSign digital certificates,[136] though ultimately PINs were mailed to each voter and a challenge-response authentication system (such as birth date, place of birth, or social security number) was used as well.[137] One magazine columnist, Howard Mortman, even hired a computer hacker to attempt to disrupt the election.[138]

Voting period[edit]

The week of the election, online voting was allowed beginning Tuesday March 7 through Friday March 10.[139] The following Saturday March 11, voting would be allowed at Polling Places only, through personal computers.[140] There were some minor problems, in that a few polling places did not open on schedule, and some users with older browsers could not vote.[141] The election went off successfully, with voter turnout increasing more than 500%[142] over the 1996 Primary.[143] Contrary to expectations, Native American turnout also increased more than 500% and African American and Latino turnout both went up more than 800%,[citation needed] defying those who claimed that minorities would not use the internet to cast votes. The results were certified by the State Board of Elections.[144] There were many other "firsts"; news footage showing a middle-aged quadriplegic man in Arizona who cast his first unassisted, secret ballot using the Internet.[145] election.com reported no hacking during the election.[146][147] Shortly after, Mohen was featured on the cover of the Industry Standard Magazine.[148]

Ongoing debate[edit]

The Arizona Democratic primary has been called the "first legally binding public election to offer internet voting".[149][150] However, the Arizona Democratic Party and the private company administering the election argued in federal court that it was a private election outside of federal jurisdiction.[151] Still others, such as the Internet Policy Institute, have classified the primary, as a "hybrid between public and private elections... not run by state election officials, but were still subject to some aspects of state and federal election law."[152] And there were some glitches such as that certain Macintosh browsers did not work.[153] Nonetheless, the 2000 Arizona Internet vote was hailed worldwide as a landmark case of using the Internet at a major election.[154]

Recommendations for improvement[edit]

In December 2005 the US Election Assistance Commission unanimously adopted the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, which significantly increase security requirements for voting systems and expand access, including opportunities to vote privately and independently, for individuals with disabilities. The guidelines took effect in December 2007 replacing the 2002 Voting System Standards (VSS) developed by the Federal Election Commission.

Some groups such as the Open Voting Consortium believe that to restore voter confidence and to reduce the potential for fraud, all electronic voting systems must be completely available to public scrutiny.

Also proposed is the requirement for use of open public standards and specifications such as the Election Markup Language (EML) standard developed by OASIS and now under consideration by ISO (see documents and schemas).[155] These can provide consistent processes and mechanisms for managing and performing elections using computer systems.


In the summer of 2004, the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Association of Information Technology Professionals issued a nine-point proposal for national standards for electronic voting.[156] In an accompanying article, the committee's chair, Charles Oriez, described some of the problems that had arisen around the country.[157][158]

Legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress regarding electronic voting, including the Nelson-Whitehouse bill. This bill would appropriate as much as 1 billion dollars to fund states' replacement of touch screen systems with optical scan voting system. The legislation also addresses requiring audits of 3% of precincts in all federal elections. It also mandates some form of paper trail audits for all electronic voting machines by the year 2012 on any type of voting technology.[159]

Another bill, HR.811 (The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003), proposed by Representative Rush D. Holt, Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey, would act as an amendment to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and require electronic voting machines to produce a paper audit trail for every vote.[160] The U.S. Senate companion bill version introduced by Senator Bill Nelson from Florida on November 1, 2007, necessitates the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to continue researching and to provide methods of paper ballot voting for those with disabilities, those who do not primarily speak English, and those who do not have a high literacy rating. Also, it requires states to provide the federal office with audit reports from the hand counting of the voter verified paper ballots. Currently, this bill has been turned over to the United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and a vote date has not been set.[161]

During 2008, Congressman Holt, because of an increasing concern regarding the insecurities surrounding the use of electronic voting technology, submitted additional bills to Congress regarding the future of electronic voting. One, called the "Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008" (HR5036), states that the General Services Administration will reimburse states for the extra costs of providing paper ballots to citizens, and the costs needed to hire people to count them.[162] This bill was introduced to the House on January 17, 2008.[163] This bill estimates that $500 million will be given to cover costs of the reconversion to paper ballots; $100 million given to pay the voting auditors; and $30 million given to pay the hand counters. This bill provides the public with the choice to vote manually if they do not trust the electronic voting machines.[162] A voting date has not yet been determined.

The Secure America's Future Elections Act or the SAFE Act (HR 1562) was among the relevant legislation introduced in the 115th Congress. The bill's provisions include designation of the infrastructure used to administer elections as critical infrastructure; funding for states to upgrade the security of the information technology and cybersecurity elements of election-related IT systems; and requirements for durable, readable paper ballots and manual audits of results of elections.


Elections in Venezuela first introduced electronic voting in the 1998 presidential election. The 2004 Venezuelan recall referendum was the first national election to feature a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). This allow the voter to verify that the machine has properly recorded their vote. It also permits audits and recounts.


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