Digital voting is not safe yet

Ronald Prins gives his opinion on the plan of the mayor of Rotterdam to have a digital referendum

Digital voting is not safe yet

Already several years attempts and investigations are being conducted in the area of digital voting. Two Dutch committees (Korthals Altes and-Van Beek) came to the same conclusion in both 2007 and 2013: electronic voting is possible if the vote isn’t recorded digitally. In other words, yes to electronic voting, but the manual counting of votes should remain possible. Otherwise a check afterwards is not an option.


In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, Ronald Prins, CTO and co-founder of Fox-IT and chairman of the Dutch expert group Electronic Voting, gives his opinion on the plan of the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, to have a digital referendum. “It isn’t safe, even though Aboutaleb says it is.”

Prins gives three essential points. “First, there is the risk of malicious software on computers. For example, with a DDOS attack the voting process can be frustrated or the entire voting procedure can be manipulated by digital attackers. Then there is a more fundamental point. A home computer does not reflect the privacy of a voting booth. There is no insight into the conditions on which a vote has been given.” Finally, Prins mentions post control as a major risk. How do you determine whether it has been done correctly? “If there is no paper, it is difficult to find out.”

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