Historical archive

BBC misreports on ending of Norwegian internet voting pilots

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

News about e-vote trial

Friday, 27.06.2014, The BBC misreports on ending of Norwegian Internet voting pilots. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation has prepared a response to correct the misreported facts and statements.

Friday, 27.06.2014, The BBC misreports on ending of Norwegian Internet voting pilots. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation has prepared a response to correct the misreported facts and statements:

In 2011 and 2013, the Norwegian Government conducted Internet voting pilots, where respectively 168.000 and 250.000 voters had the choice of casting their ballot over the Internet, if they so desired. Internet voting was only a supplementary channel, and only available during the advance voting period. No Internet voting was allowed on Election Day.

In order to ensure the secrecy of the vote, the system allowed voters to re-vote, both electronically and on paper. This mechanism allowed a voter who had voted over the Internet to later cast a traditional paper vote. Casting a paper vote would lead to the cancellation of any electronic vote. 528 electronic votes were cancelled due to voters having cast a paper vote and 2281 electronic votes were cancelled because the voter had re-voted electronically. These vote cancellations were completely in line with the regulations governing the trials,  and  demonstrated that the established security mechanisms were being utilized by voters. There is no suspicion that any voters successfuly voted both electronically and on paper.

The Norwegian Internet pilots in both 2011 and 2013 received widespread international acclaim for the use of a verifiable cryptographic voting protocol, which allowed third parties to perform robust audits of the count. There have been no significant security concerns raised in the trials. Quite to the contrary, the evaluation report shows very high levels of voter trust in Internet voting – as much as 94% of Internet voters report trust in Internet voting.

Internet voting was never intended or expected to raise voter turnout. The main goal of the pilots was to increase accessibility for marginal groups, such as disabled or expatriate voters.

Regardless of the techincal achievements and high levels of public trust in Internet voting, however, the pilots have remained politically controversial over fears that the security mechansim of re-voting was insufficient, and that allowing votes to be cast outside of polling stations would diminish the sanctity of the vote.

Norway has a strong traditon of seeking consensus in all matters regarding electoral policy. Due to the lack of broad political will to introduce Internet voting, the Minister of Local Government and Modernization, mr. Jan Tore Sanner, decided not to continue expending public resources on continuing the pilots.