domino.vote had the opportunity to interview Jörg Schorr - expert in e-voting products.
When and why did you get interested in online voting?
Online voting is in line with the digitalization trend that started already a while ago. Being very interested in the political rights in Switzerland, it was natural to work - amongst others - in the electronic voting context.
What are the different ways of online voting? Where can it be used?
In Switzerland online voting is mainly associated with the remote voting through the internet channel. This is well accepted as the citizens with voting rights already use mainly the postal vote, meaning they do not vote in at the poll station anymore.
Another application can be at general meetings (for shareholders typically) which translates to providing remotely, through the internet the vote instructions to a proxy or the company directly.
In some other countries there are other forms, like voting in a poll station on a computer.
It is important for the future generations, broadens the participation possibilities for the citizens, ensures more valid votes and less work for the counting. All this together will offer new ways to deal with democracy and participation.
What do you think are the biggest hurdles in online voting?
One of the main hurdles are that digital voting is hardly observable (verifiable) unless some mechanisms aiming this are put in place at all levels (technical, i.e. the solution, and processes). Thanks to modern cryptography it is possible to make the voting process observable and to guarantee at the same time voting secrecy.
What is your opinion about blockchain online voting?
I think that blockchain has some huge advantages per design for the voting topic… provided that there is no requirement that is in contradiction with these design principles of blockchain. In the Swiss law, it is stated that some period after a vote or an election, the voting material, i.e. the ballots, have to be destroyed. Nevertheless, I see many opportunities for blockchain in the voting area.
How do you see the future of online voting?
It will come, that’s not the question. It is more when? But to answer this question we need to consider the different online voting opportunities separately and the constraints and the context are different.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
It is key for Switzerland to be competitive in the digital space. For this reason, I think that every initiative in the digital space is important… to encourage citizens, voters, shareholders and others to show internationally our innovative competitiveness, and online voting is a good opportunity.
domino.vote is happy to connect with Thought Leaders in the space of online voting and online democracy- would you like to connect with us, do not hesitate to write at firstname.lastname@example.org