Stories about electronic voting usually centre on the danger that foreign powers such as Russia or China will hack into systems in the West and affect the outcome of elections.
But in a new twist, Russia’s Duma has accepted a draft law which may allow electronic voting in their own elections. A bill was laid before the Duma on 28 February and is expected to become law in the summer. It is proposed that once the necessary legislation is passed there will be an initial trial of the system in local elections in the autumn, but probably only in one district.
The concern must now be that electronic voting will become a tool for Russia’s oligarchy to maintain their rule illegally. And even if their opponents should somehow manage to win, the oligarchs will be able to challenge the legitimacy of the elections by claiming that Western intelligence forces have hacked the system. It is hard to see how anyone could ever have faith in it.
But then the views of the Russian people probably won’t matter.