How Long Before We Vote Online?

Brown has fuelled the debate on electoral reform by proposing the Aussie style alternative vote (AV) system for parliamentary elections.  If it happens this may be the last time we put a cross on a ballot paper as the AV system is a preference vote that requires numbers in the boxes.  But should we be using those dreadful little pencils at all.  Isn’t it about time that we started to look at electronic voting from our PCs or smartphones?  If we can safeguard bank transactions surely we have the wit to make online voting secure. 

Cost cutting measures will see many of the official counts not even starting until the morning after the election (it is cheaper to pay counters for day time work).  In the event of a hung parliament there is a real danger that the election won’t be decided until all of theses votes are in.   Though there is little doubt that the media and the exit polls will have an accurate prediction minutes after the booths close. 

Why aren’t the major parties talking about electronic voting?  Is it perhaps because it is a short step from electronic voting every five years to regular referenda on line and a more direct style of democracy?  No that really would piss on the collective chips of our elected representatives.