As part of the ongoing attempt to sell off every part of the British state that isn’t nailed down (while issuing a tender to recruit a specialist nail removal company), it looks like attention is turning to elections and voting because those are exactly the sort of things you want to entrust to the lowest bidder.
Even less surprisingly, it’s being driven by the ‘Hey! Why can’t we vote online?’ mantra, in which people who really should know better pretend that the well-documented security issues of moving voting online can be ignored. The companies who stand to make a tidy profit from this are very good at pretending these issues don’t exist, or that they can easily solve them, providing someone throws enough money at them to do so. In the same way that companies pretended making an IT system for the NHS was essentially a trivial problem that could be solved by throwing enough money at it, it’s in the e-voting companies’ interest to pretend that their business model doesn’t have fundamental flaws that don’t have quick fixes.
The problem, though, is that none of these genuine concerns will be listened to. Pushed on by the dual carrot of being able to be seen to be embracing technology while looking like they’re saving money, I fully expect the next government to rush ahead with some form of electronic/internet voting and those of us who try to raise concerns will be dismissed as Luddites for imagining that pencils and paper are somehow better than the internet. But hey, who cares about security and the integrity of the ballot when you can bring in something shiny, new and seemingly cheaper until all those unexpected glitches bring the bill in at double what it used to be?