eVoting is a subject I've looked at before, but I've recently been reading some more papers on the issue which are worth highlighting.
They were discussed at a meeting of the International Political Science Association in July 2009, so are a little dated but the issues discussed remain valid.
I'll be publishing a series of posts on these papers over the rest of this week.
First, Dr Josep M. Reniu i Vilamala of the Universitat de Barcelona looked at eVoting in Spain, Mexico and Argentina.
His paper discusses several arguments against eVoting which relate to its social perception, in essence whether people feel afraid to use new technologies.
He noted that while paper votes and ballot boxes provide a "strong symbolic moment" with social interaction, internet voting is "absolutely different".
And eVoting is also criticised for not being necessary in countries where the electoral system and the electoral procedures are not complex enough to justify the replacement of traditional voting systems.
On the plus side, eVoting provides more opportunities for citizens to take part in elections, especially if living abroad or otherwise unable to get to a polling station.
It is also possible to provide more information, leading to better-informed citizens, as well as quicker counts and possible environmental benefits.
Research in the three countries during 2004 and 2005 looked at the perceptions of citizens when using different eVoting solutions.
This included both public and private eVoting events (from citizen consultations to European Union constitutional referenda and from the board of a professional association to electing representatives to a student council). These also covered events where the outcomes were binding and not binding, and where eVoting was the only option or where it was used with traditional voting.
Those who were surveyed rated their satisfaction with eVoting with a median value of 4.2 out of five, although there may have been some pro-technological bias in the voters.
The research suggested that simplicity and rapidity are the benefits which voters most value in eVoting.
And when it comes to the "democratic liturgy" of traditional voting, 60 per cent of those who cast their ballot on paper cited the importance of tradition and 22 per cent feared a lack of security with eVoting. Some 15.5 per cent said they lacked interest and/or information about eVoting and two per cent cited 'technophobia'.
But 78 per cent would support eVoting in binding political ballots, while 22 per cent were opposed. And in non-binding consultative votes, support for eVoting was higher at 86 per cent to 14 per cent.