The issue of national representation in the form of elections for representative legislative bodies or by referendums is a key issue for any democratic government. The system of secret voting with multi-level commissions, which is traditional for any representative democracy, cannot provide free and fair expression of the will of the public and was never intended for that purpose.
It was formed in the 19th century during a transition to universal suffrage and always contained a mechanism for unlimited falsifications from individuals in control of the system; the only restrictions are statistics on the percentage of voters prepared to protect their rights even in the event of unsatisfactory public results. An even more important issue is that even if the elections are held without direct falsification there is non-liability of elected public representatives toward anonymous voters, which is technically and organizationally not resolved anywhere with secret elections.
We can admire the achievements of democracy over the last 200 years and the stability of the political system formed as a result, but 200 years later under the conditions of post-industrial transition, this system is an anachronism and its basis – the system of secret voting with multi-leveled electoral commissions – cannot in any way ensure fair expression of the will of the public.
The Open Digital Society Foundation (ODSF) is proposing the use of an open voting Automated Election System (AES) based on modern information technologies. The accuracy of counting the votes will be ensured through automatic procedures and fraud will be avoided by the system’s availability to the monitoring of independent observers and the voters themselves and also by automated procedures to detect fluctuations to be subsequently reviewed by observers.
The AES is able to cheaply, quickly and reliably make provisions for electing officials, collegiate bodies and also direct expression of the will of the public. In this respect the AES is key technology, upon which the political process and the political regime will inevitably be based at a stage of the transition to a post-industrial society, as well as within the framework of post-industrial civilization. Because of this, any regime that arises under the conditions of post-industrial transition that are not based on AES procedures will be extremely unstable and illegitimate in the eyes of the public.
Thus, the AES is a fundamental political and technological resource, the process of implementation of which will be one of the key moments of the existing political process.
The AES is a tool to automate the processing of votes in open named voting, the votes can be submitted both traditionally via agitators or activists, in person via terminals at polling stations, or independently via the Internet. It is not an Internet voting system, as with social networks, or telephone surveys. The main difference is not the technology used (data can also be entered using paper ballots via any communication channel to transfer data for processing), but rather the openness of choice and the personification of each voter of a specific deputy or party enabling full interaction of the voter with the deputy/party. Thanks to the fact that the system works with specific voters and not anonymous individuals, recall also becomes possible – deputies/parties are recalled by the voters themselves – as well as submission of mandates to a deputy/party.
At present there are several working versions of the AES, which are capable of processing loads of up to 200 million voters. The system adapts to any alphabet and has an interaction gateway with any user authentication system or personal database. The implementation period is from 3 to 6 months and it is an open source system.
Chairman of the Board of the ODSF
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