Why Electronic Voting Is Still A Bad Idea

  • Published on Dec 9, 2019
  • We still shouldn't be using electronic voting. Here's why. • Sponsored by Dashlane - for free on your first device @ www.dashlane.com/tomscott
    MORE BASICS: thexvid.com/p/PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha

    Computerphile video: thexvid.com/video/w3_0x6oaDmI/video.html
    Stories about voter identification happening outside the law: www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-1051,00.html
    Voting machines left connected to the internet: www.vice.com/en_us/article/3kxzk9/exclusive-critical-us-election-systems-have-been-left-exposed-online-despite-official-denials
    Hackers getting voting machines to play Doom: www.salon.com/2019/08/14/hackers-can-easily-break-into-voting-machines-used-across-the-u-s-play-doom-nirvana/
    "Small, well-funded team backed by a national government": www.nytimes.com/2019/07/25/us/politics/russian-hacking-elections.html
    Scottish election: www.theguardian.com/politics/2007/jun/20/scotland.devolution and news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6627657.stm - with the Excel detail on page 50 of www.openrightsgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/org_election_report.pdf?page=50
    Report on e-voting in Estonia: estoniaevoting.org/

    Written by Sean M Elliott and Tom Scott
    Directed by Tomek
    Graphics by Mooviemakers www.mooviemakers.co.uk/
    Audio mix by Haerther Productions haerther.net/

    I'm at tomscott.com
    on Twitter at tomscott
    on Facebook at tomscott
    and on Instagram as tomscottgo

Comments • 4 879

  • Adam McKibben
    Adam McKibben 6 hours ago

    Next election should be decided by Doom deathmatch.

  • Nathan Peterson
    Nathan Peterson 14 hours ago +1

    If we did magically skip some of the problems at the beginning of the computer, what if we had closed sourced, very rudimentary computers that were still running up to date, and secure software on one end, and each booth computer was connected by ethernet to a LAN hosted on a miniature server, representing the tamper proof ballot box at each voting location. The ethernet would have to be under both extreme physical security and extreme firmware and software security. These miniature servers perform many of the checksums and other things required to maintain trust. The computers would be so god damn unusable that they would only have ports for power, display, and possibly some sort of proprietary port that would allow for data to be transmitted to the CPU and other components.

    The mini-servers would then be loaded up the same way ballot boxes are loaded to be counted elsewhere, and then a central server would then have to be connected to every single ballot box physically, where the rest of the magic happens like normal.

  • silverywingsagain

    Understanding blockchain would be necessary for online voting. Every user would enter their social when voting and the number and vote is attached to a blockchain. It would be public data and every citizen could look up their own ssn or verify that there are no made up entries. It wouldn't matter what software wrote to the blockchain if the data were easily verifiable.

  • ReimoZ
    ReimoZ 2 days ago

    8:05 Yes and yes

  • Raphael Sauer
    Raphael Sauer 2 days ago

    What about some sort of hybrid approach?
    A device that prints a receipt that then is cast to the ballot. Preliminary results would use the automated counting system and the final results would come from good old human counting.

  • Codingmaster
    Codingmaster 2 days ago

    blockchain ?
    i mean when i think about it it can be done with blockchain.

  • Gabriel Araujo
    Gabriel Araujo 2 days ago

    just remember what happened in Brazil on the 2014 elections

  • Alijah Simon
    Alijah Simon 2 days ago

    Honestly the only company on the planet I'd trust to develop a secure end-to-end voting process would be Apple. It is VERY complicated and expensive to hack their devices (here come all the apple haters, some loser will point out greykey, etc)

  • Mateus Barbosa
    Mateus Barbosa 2 days ago

    I understand you being skeptical about that and I would agree with most of your argumentation if I wasnt a brazilian
    There are almost 150 millions of voters, eletronic voting each 2 years in Brazil since 24 years ago
    You can take at look into our system. Although we have many corrupt politicians, we are really proud of our efficient and reliable voting system

  • Aviral Mishra Official


    • Strange Kat
      Strange Kat 2 days ago

      Yes. You just employ more people to count the votes.

  • Iam Ravara
    Iam Ravara 3 days ago

    no, my computer is not up to date nor malware safe.

  • AGF Tun
    AGF Tun 3 days ago

    I agree with you on everything, but ending the video with an ad for a password manager which is an extremely dangerous and vulnerable software that can be hacked and used to ruin so many lives is unethical

  • We R Always Watching

    still? always had been wtf?

  • op4000exe
    op4000exe 3 days ago

    This video could basically be called: Here's why Electronic Voting will propably Never be a Good idea.

  • freeideas
    freeideas 4 days ago +2

    What if we used a system that is so open, that people could verify before and after the election that their vote was counted the way they cast it?
    1) I cast a vote for "yes" the day before it is counted. My vote is available to everyone in the world who wants to see it, but I am the only person in the world who can *identify* the SOURCE of that vote (me).
    2) A few hours before counting time, I use a different device to double-check that my vote was "yes".
    3) Anyone and everyone in the world can count the votes themselves.
    4) After the official count, I can *still* verify that my vote was "yes", and anyone in the world can still count the votes themselves and otherwise double-check every part of the system.

    It is difficult for me to imagine how this could go wrong, but I'm sure someone here can help me with that. :)

    • Maksym Besida
      Maksym Besida 2 days ago

      I guess the main point in the video was that not evrybody who has vote rights can grasp this idea and have a trust in it. So in any case we need to have a fallback of physical voting. But how in that case prevent double voting(electronic and physical simultaneously)? Any solution to that would brake anonimity(as the author of the video states it's important). My main question to the video is why anonimity is so important? if you're scared to do smth, maybe democracy is not the right solution for you(rhetorically)

  • Jakob Žorž
    Jakob Žorž 4 days ago

    Just run communism

  • Zac Ross
    Zac Ross 5 days ago

    “Got it to run Doom”
    Seems about right

  • Nicholas Hoefer
    Nicholas Hoefer 6 days ago

    @Tom you should make a video describing what a "Sybil Attack" is. The concept has applications in all domains of internet security.

  • Audrius Kliukas
    Audrius Kliukas 6 days ago

    I thought the whole point of electronic voting is that you can do it from your home. If you still have to go somewhere to vote, what is even the idea here? I guess pushing a button on a screen is marginally easier than ticking a checkbox on paper, but that's not a huge advantage worth investing millions for.

  • Biz Vlogs
    Biz Vlogs 6 days ago

    [internal screaming]
    * Why Decentralized, Immutable, Publicly-Verifiable, Trustless Crypto-Voting Is Still A Good Idea.
    Using Zero-knowledge proofs, you can have anonymous voting, and still be able to verify that every vote is signed by a registered voter and that nobody voted twice.
    This will make our elections physically impossible to rig or hack and we can prove that the election results are accurate.
    This is much better than paper-voting. Every citizen needs a private key that they generate themselves, and they can register the corresponding public address to their voter ID by digitally signing some document. Everyones gets a token and they can give that voting token to candidate A or candidate B. Whoever has the most voting tokens, or "votkens", is the winner. Sending these votkens with some zero-knowledge proof system makes completely private, fair voting.
    With this system, you do not need to trust any hardware or software, because you verify your vote. You can't do that with paper-voting.

    Of course with this system you could tell who *has* voted and who hasn't, you just can't see *whom* they voted for. But that's already how it is, at least in America. The only path for democracy is publicly-verifiable immutable voting.

    • Strange Kat
      Strange Kat 2 days ago

      OK. Can you please translate that into English and out of tech speak. What exactly is a zero knowledge proof and how can I trust it?

  • Orihara Yuzuru
    Orihara Yuzuru 6 days ago

    Glad our parliament cancelled an electronic voting law before Indonesian general election happen in 2019

  • Shekel Snatcher
    Shekel Snatcher 6 days ago +1

    Bruh, just do a strawpoll for elections.

  • Andrei Țurcan
    Andrei Țurcan 7 days ago

    TLDR - don't fix what ain't broken. Especially in developing countries.

  • Pradeep Singh
    Pradeep Singh 7 days ago

    Now explain us why should we trust dashlane?

  • SgtLion
    SgtLion 7 days ago

    Eh. I mean online transactions are happening with ciphers, fully electronic setup and operation, with each person able to fully verify their payments and where they've gone etc. without other people knowing (and anonymising it to the central database while keeping verifiable is a simple hashing step, if needed). And similarly, breaking this system could be worth up to trillions of dollars, despite the same issues with viruses, malicious owners, id theft, etc, it's still an overwhelmingly successful system. E-voting is really more achievable than you seem to want to admit.

  • Cheyenne
    Cheyenne 8 days ago

    why not just use nordvpn to secure the votes lolx

  • tdenisenko
    tdenisenko 8 days ago

    Actually the last idea would work. Blockchain-backed voting system with a randomly generated receipt number printed after voting. And the ledger and all receipt numbers will be publicly available on the internet and everyone can verify how many numbers are there and which numbers voted to whom so it checks out with the actual results. And everyone can check if their specific number has the correct vote and it's not duplicated. As the older generation passes away it wouldn't be hard to just go to a website and query your number. This doesn't break anonymity because numbers doesn't correspond to a ID number and it doesn't break trust because blockchain is immutable and can be verified by everyone. People still has to go to a physical place though to verify their identity (so dead people won't be able to vote magically)

  • Piyush Banka
    Piyush Banka 8 days ago

    How can I trust dashlane the same way some one can't trust evm

  • Humberto Oliveira
    Humberto Oliveira 8 days ago +1

    Here in Brazil we have a very interesting system of electronic voting, there are some problems in trusting, even some candidates accusing the system of being manipulated by the dominant party.

  • Jeffrey Ashbrook
    Jeffrey Ashbrook 8 days ago

    I disagree with everything here.

  • Darcy Mcnabb
    Darcy Mcnabb 9 days ago

    It can and is hacked.

  • RPGtogether
    RPGtogether 10 days ago

    *Countries* *that* *use* *electronic* *voting* : Am I a joke to you?

    ALCOLOLIC 10 days ago

    I will kill for one of those monitors. I love Tom Scott, but even more, I love the background

  • Liggliluff
    Liggliluff 10 days ago +1

    In Sweden, the votes are counted in the voting station, and anytime can watch. So you can watch the box not being tampered with, as you can observe it all day. - Then they recount them at a later date. But the votes after that can't be too off from the original counting. Would be weird if a party went from 29% to 83% after the recount.

  • MandMs05
    MandMs05 11 days ago +2

    "I trust that your device is malware-free"
    Okay cool... but this device has been sitting on this desk for 3 years now and has gone through a lot of small kids being reckless, so now you need to get ME to trust that my device is malware-free.

  • IronToadNoetic
    IronToadNoetic 12 days ago

    The interesting thing about this case against electronic voting is that the obvious situation where it actually is secure is immediately thrown out as "nobody does that."
    In Orange County, FL, they have dedicated tablets. All access ports are sealed during transit and when deployed. The ballot data is stored on cartridges sealed inside the units.
    The tablets are not Android; they're proprietary and purpose-built. And yes, they're physically transported back for counting. The entire process is designed such that fraud can only occur when there are so many people in on it that it probably wouldn't alter the results of the election, anyway. You'd have to involve old folks and such.
    They're verified by techs using calibration cartridges. We do a series of test votes, then double check that the count is accurate. There is no way for the software to be messed with, unless the company making the devices knew decades in advance, and even then, we'd catch it during testing. And they are offline only.
    Counting is easy, because techs can just view the count.
    As for the public understanding, the entire process is very simple, and the public is welcome to just watch us work if they want.
    Manual recounts suck for paper ballots because they basically have to be reran through voting machines, multiple times. With the touchscreen, it's instant.
    That is why we need electronic voting. It's less of a pain in the ass across the board, and just as secure. But for now, in that county, it's limited to disabled folks only, because of nonsense like this video.

    • IronToadNoetic
      IronToadNoetic 11 days ago

      How do you do it, then? You'd have to work with the supervisor of elections, find a way to hack it, then actually do it to all the machines in the county. Or get all the techs in on it. The seals are tamper-evident. They only get broken under supervision.

    • Re Mora
      Re Mora 11 days ago

      No one bothers to hack these devices because only a few people use them to vote. If everyone starts using them everywhere, it will be a different story. Hackers will look for a way to break in 24/7/365.

    • IronToadNoetic
      IronToadNoetic 12 days ago

      And we will probably never transmit votes online. Only voting results, which is already happening.

  • enCODed3
    enCODed3 12 days ago

    The only way to ensure votes are actually counted...
    OPEN VOTE, same as in Congress...
    Yes people will try threats, you execute those people...

  • Christian Elster
    Christian Elster 12 days ago

    "you can take all the voting machines from where the voting takes place to where the counting takes place. No one does that"
    Brazil does fjfkkkkk

    • Gustavo Ros
      Gustavo Ros 11 days ago

      No. In Brazil they move the computers to hubs connected directly with the main counting server, then send the data and the PC get back to the regional district.

  • Bernhard Riemann
    Bernhard Riemann 13 days ago

    Threshold encryption solves the problem of voting verification, a representative from each party can be present. Blind signatures gives everyone the ability to check their vote afterwards, and can be divided into a voting phase and a tallying phase - though I doubt it would provide receipt-freeness. I'm sure we can be creative, the problem is almost always humans.

  • One Buffalo
    One Buffalo 13 days ago

    While I agree, how can you make sure regular ballot voting is done correctly with no interference in a country like the US when 140 million people vote? I feel like theres too many ways to tamper with those results. From making entire boxes of ballots disappear to people changing the votes on the ballot.

  • BloxGamer38
    BloxGamer38 13 days ago +1

    TheXvid's algorithm electronically chose to put this in my recommended section instead of any other video. That's electronic voting right?

  • Yasin Biyikli
    Yasin Biyikli 13 days ago

    Paper Votes are just as vulnerable and if you would expect the same standards as you did for electronicall voting we would need to stop voting altogether. You can also do a one sided video on why paper voting is a bad idea.

  • Sergey
    Sergey 13 days ago

    Well. What about the system like this:

    1 You go to the voting building
    2 You sign in a journal and take random piece of paper from the box with a qr code which is now your identifier, you don't tell it to anybody.
    3 You go to a voting machine, vote and take this paper with you or just make a photo and destroy this paper
    4 Your vote is written to the blockchain database, so that at any time you can download it, recount everything and make sure that your identifier matches with a candidate you voted for

    Still vulnerable for some attacks like carousels(used in Russia, when the same people vote on different regions multiple times during the day), but solves problem when you could not be sure that your vote wasn't altered. Also, it's still anonymous.

    • Niklas Aumüller
      Niklas Aumüller 8 days ago

      @Sergey yes but there you can Take the Picture, Go Out and request a new paper (the photographed one will be destroyed)
      -> you can Vote what ever you Like and "proofe" that you have voted for the Red Team -> this can not be checked because you can not match a specific Vote to your Person. With qr Codes this is possible
      Also stuff Like: proofe that you voted for the Red Team and get 50% Off your next Order is possible with this qr Code solution -> Not good
      In my opinion a voting system should be so easy that everyone who can Count can Check If the voting was right. This is not possible with any technical solution because you need to understand the technical Background

    • Sergey
      Sergey 9 days ago

      @Niklas Aumüller "Make a photo of your bulletin so that I can check that you have voted for the right candidate, otherwise you and your family will regret it".

      In both cases, the police should deal with those guys.

    • Niklas Aumüller
      Niklas Aumüller 9 days ago +1

      @Sergey If you lose or destroy your qr Code, you and your family will be punished

    • Sergey
      Sergey 9 days ago

      @Niklas Aumüller

      > Oh by the way: Bring your qr Code to me after your next election so that i can Check that you have voted for Team Red, otherwise you and your family will regret it ;)

      Destroy that qr code if you don't want it to be shared with anybody

    • Niklas Aumüller
      Niklas Aumüller 9 days ago +1

      Problem is Trust
      The system should be able to be checked by everybody (Like my grandpa) and not only by Software engineers
      Oh by the way: Bring your qr Code to me after your next election so that i can Check that you have voted for Team Red, otherwise you and your family will regret it ;)

  • Sergey
    Sergey 13 days ago +4

    - Attacks against paper voting don't scale well
    - *Putin laughing in the background*

    • DeepSpaceWanderer
      DeepSpaceWanderer 6 hours ago

      Well, they dont actually scale well (at least relatively covertly). Way more effective method is covincing ppl, that their vote will be counted as needed, so they dont even come. .

    • Piers
      Piers 10 days ago

      They can only scale when one part of the system fails due to mass corruption, as has been demonstrated in Russia.

  • Пабло Хорхес

    After I watch entire video
    0:34 this is false, but sadly popular, statement. If none know who voted for whom, it gives a lot of opportunities to someone on power to change result of voting to "correct".
    As example, just look what now goings on in usa. FBI still investigates the interference of russia in usa election. Omit the fact that russia cant affect the result of election in russia itself (trust me, I know what I talking about).
    "Vote red or you will regret"? You say it like it dont happens, like, right now. Yes, it a little bit too complicated than check abstract list of "who voted for whom", but pros outweigh cons. Because if everyone can check for whom voted johnatan john johnson and count on calculator amount of votes for each candidate (I doubt that most people would actually do so), how could you attack/hack such system?
    And no, I dont think electronic voting is good, because changing one 0 to 1 in one line of a code and you have a disaster. But it can helps a lot in organizing voting, like to check is that johnatan john johnson assigned to this polling station in seconds instead of minutes.

  • Banzai Bot
    Banzai Bot 14 days ago

    The once-every-election stress test is, indeed, the most convincing argument against ever using an electronic system. However, it's bold to assume that I would trust a human counting our votes more than a computer: they're both really stupid.

  • Joseph Thompson
    Joseph Thompson 14 days ago +2

    Shame there’s so much postal voting fraud in the U.K.

  • xxoan.16
    xxoan.16 14 days ago

    I try but I can't be agree with you. Apps like paypal moves thousands of dollars per minute (or more, idk the exact number) and it keeps working, without big hacks, and with mobile devices and personal computers. If we can do that with money (paypal was just an example, global economy or criptomoney are also good examples) we can do that with votes due both are just numbers.

    • Raz
      Raz 12 days ago

      Paypal is not anonymous. For example they could also ask you to send an image of some kind of ID for them for verification purposes.
      Paypal also wouldnt strike as much interest as elections that should be anonymous.

    • xxoan.16
      xxoan.16 14 days ago

      What's more, not everyone have to vote electronically, it is just an option, so everyone who votes by computer is someone who trusts in technology

  • Craig Hanson
    Craig Hanson 14 days ago

    Use of paper ballots and permanent ink dieing of a finger upon exiting the polling place, who's with me?

  • Ninad Mishra
    Ninad Mishra 14 days ago

    Can you explain this to government of india xD

  • Alex Paz
    Alex Paz 14 days ago

    I guess we should stop using internet banking too and go back to coins and paper notes. 🤨

    • Cupit
      Cupit 7 days ago

      We do use coins and paper notes though...

  • SirDancelot
    SirDancelot 14 days ago

    but why is anonymity needed? me i personally don't see it all that important cause everyone talks about who they voted for so just make it illegal to offer special offers to people based on their votes to avoid people buying votes

  • Drift11
    Drift11 14 days ago

    what about quantum computers?

    • Cupit
      Cupit 7 days ago

      You could vote for all candidates simultanously 😂

  • Pedro Dessbesell
    Pedro Dessbesell 14 days ago +3

    Here in Brazil we are using eletronic voting since a long time ago, never got any problem or fraud

    • Grifo BR
      Grifo BR 13 days ago +3

      That's what they tell us...

  • Dipayan Das
    Dipayan Das 15 days ago

    What about evm and vvpat in India

  • Johannes Bekker
    Johannes Bekker 15 days ago

    Yes but in a real democracy it won't be people we vote for, in fact we won't be voting at all, but solving problems. Suggestions will be put forward in all areas by people who are acknowledged experts in their various fields.
    The ballot system is a hopeless sidetracking of the main issue : how to solve social economic & legal issues so that it'll benefit everyone.

  • LasermanSteam
    LasermanSteam 15 days ago

    How would you fully trust physical voting?Who says that everyone transporting the box isn't in on it together?Who says some box isn't going to get misplaced & lost?
    You can never fully trust anything

  • Sean Bates
    Sean Bates 15 days ago

    What's the problem with mail-in ballots? My state closed polling booths yeeears ago. Now we just mail every registered voter a ballot and have them fill it in with a marker and drop it off.

  • TimkA a
    TimkA a 15 days ago +1

    smart contracts solved voting problems already

  • Sabiki Kasukō
    Sabiki Kasukō 15 days ago

    Basically, electronic systems are imperfect and we kinda just accepted we'll have to live with it, but when it comes to elections we just can't allow ourselves to live with it.