Security chief: e-voting would carry risks

Introducing an electronic voting system in Latvia would create security risks, Janis Maizitis, Chief of the Constitution Protection Bureau or the top national security agency in Latvia, said on Latvian Radio January 8.

He said he was not prone to phobias but, based on the information that he knew as the head of the national security agency, he believed that it would best if Latvia kept to the existing voting procedure, using paper ballots.

"That way it would be safer, and we will avoid security risks," Maizitis said.

He pointed out that it was vital that voters made an informed choice after studying as many media reports as possible. People should not be misled by a loud headline or a single news story, he stressed.

Latvia has already considered the possibility of introducing the e-voting. In late 2014 the parliament rejected a public legislative initiative about e-voting because of negative opinions from experts, who said that there were no technological solutions that would make e-voting safe while keeping to the principle of secret ballot as provided for in the Latvian Constitution.

Neighboring Estonia famously already uses e-voting but in 2014 a group of international experts concluded that the Estonian e-voting system was vulnerable and recommended that Estonia should return to the use of paper ballots in elections - however, these findings were hotly disputed by the Estonian authorities who insist no notable security breaches have taken place with their system.

Lithuania is also planning to develop an e-voting system and intends to make the system absolutely secure but Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has expressed doubts about secrecy and security of online voting.

The next regular general elections in Latvia will take place in October this year.

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