Monday, April 26, 2010

On the perils of Internet voting

I tend not to be too concerned about the dangers associated with Internet voting.  It doesn't strike me as having much more potential for fraud than absentee balloting or even in-person voting.  Meanwhile, I can move thousands of dollars around online through my Wells Fargo account or on E-Trade, and that doesn't seem to cause many problems.

Okay, that said, check out this story from the Daily Californian.  Turns out Noah Stern, the new president-elect of the UC Berkeley student government, is being prosecuted for voter fraud.  Among the allegations:
Stern approached sophomore Axel Prompt and senior Roy Pfaffman on the last night of voting, offering to cast a ballot on behalf of the two students. A reporter for The Daily Californian observed the exchange between Pfaffman and Stern in which Stern offered the use of his BlackBerry so that Pfaffman could log into the elections website with his CalNet ID. Pfaffman then returned the phone to Stern, who voted on Pfaffman's behalf.
Now, it's not obvious to me here which party is more guilty.  Unless Stern was somehow coercing the students to vote, they're just as guilty for letting someone vote for them as he is for stuffing the virtual ballot box.  But obviously the crime is more costly for Stern, who could end up being disqualified for office.

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