Allow the Oscars to explain why we should never, ever e-vote in a national election

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tried experimenting with electronic voting this year, to disastrous results (e.g., getting logged out if your password isn't strong enough, then waiting for the mail to deliver a new one -- after a phone call to customer service). Considering how the Oscars can barely get its act together to find out who they want to nominate (let alone win), just imagine how effective e-voting would be for a political election, a national one, that determined who runs the country. Hint: Not at all effective. In any way. At all. Let's never speak of this again. (via Moviefone)


  1. It’s amazing to me the same people who think the Diebold voting machines were rigged or hacked seem perfectly happy with the idea of voting online.

      1. Hollywood is composed entirely of liberal extremists, who are the people who were concerned about Diebold machines. Duh.

  2. Just because the octogenarians that run the MPAA can’t figure out technology, we should never try to use technology again?  

    1. Having worked in high budget VFX post-production for Hollywood studios – they really, really, really, REALLY do not understand technology.  From asking me to redact emails through to providing kit that’s obsolete, and reference DVDs that can’t be played back on Linux workstations (legally) – it was a farce.  

      And then there was the time on a very big budget film when the accounts department and the director was given far more bandwidth than that VFX department when shuttling data back and forth between the studios and vendors.

      Given that this latest escapade has massively failed – as has previous attempts at the Academy to protect screeners by introducing a new proprietary disc format especially for them, I can’t say I’m surprised.

      Can’t wait for Hollywood to go back to nitro cellulose film.  Goodbye eyebrows!

  3. Just to clarify: people confuse online voting with online polling; the two have no relationship.

    There is open source, cryptographically secure, peer-reviewed, online voting software available from multiple sources. The problem comes up when someone, like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, thinks that this is easy, and hacks together some crap code instead of using the available products.

    1. There was cryptographically secure, auditable software available for voting machines.  Certain politicians prevented its use.

  4. Even if there was a way to solve the problem of making sure your vote is counted properly, there’s still the issue of coercion with electronic voting. It’s the same issue that exists with mail-in ballots. With a ballot box setup, you go to your booth and fill out your ballot without anyone else there to see how you’re voting. If your boss or spouse or whoever asks you how you voted, you can tell them anything you want and they have no way to know. But if you have to fill out your ballot at a computer or on a piece of paper without enforced privacy, there’s an opportunity for someone to verify that you filled it out how they want you to fill it out.

    1.  In the era of cameraphones, your view on polling booth privacy demonstrably doesn’t hold water.

      As for the risk of coercion, check out what Estonia did: you can vote online as many times as you’d like, but only the last vote given will enter the electronic “ballot box” on election day. Vote once with your boss peeking over your shoulder, vote once with your spouse peeking over your shoulder, vote one last time in private.

    2. I’d rate the risk of coercion at a polling place as higher than the risk of coercion in my home.

      1. I think we all know that if you could vote from home, Cory would be standing over you with a hockey stick while wearing a goalie mask, making sure you vote the right way.

    3. That’s a really dumb criticism. Vote in a public library or coffeeshop if you’ll be “forced to explain”.

      Granted, I’m not a fan of online voting. Vote-by-mail as practiced in WA is still more secure for me.

  5. I voted online in the most recent Swiss election/poll, was no trouble at all.

    Granted they have a partially online system where they mail you a ballot with a code that you can then use online but still.

  6. I’ve seen a few people calling out at protests here for implentation of direct democracy via internet voting. As a casual follower of the hacker mindset I just can’t trust the concept. Amongst the ideas I get are politicians buying botnets to vote for them.

      1. Well, not botnets, but compromised computers/backdoors in general. I mean, you can get some awfully gunked up home PCs where people would be voting from.

  7. Sounds like it’s baby-with-the-bathwater time at BoingBoing. Just because these notoriously inept people couldn’t do evoting right is no reason to reject the concept. In-person voting isn’t so hot either – looking at the 50 thousand or so disenfranchised presidential voters in Florida alone.

    Representative government is my nominee for the biggest boil on the body politic, and the obvious counterweight for it evoting. So let’s get to work – it can’t be harder than finding the Higg’s, m’kay?

  8. I’m sure all the people who are most vociferously objecting to e-voting also never buy things online or access their bank accounts online. 

    If you aren’t going to trust the internet for e-voting, you should never, ever trust it for e-commerce.

    1. You can verify that your money was stolen out of your bank account or that you never received the product you purchased online, and you can make sure something will be done about it.

      But how would you know your vote was never counted or that someone else managed to get their vote counted a million times? Or that the party you didn’t vote for isn’t keeping a blacklist of people who didn’t vote for them, and giving this information to your employer, who will then fire you for not voting “correctly.”

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