To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the recommendations of the WebRoots Democracy report, entitled Military Voting: Enhancing access to elections for the armed forces abroad, published on 1 August 2017; and what assessment he has made of the potential effectiveness of undertaking a pilot for an online voting option for UK military personnel based overseas.
The Government notes the recommendations in WebRoots Democracy report. This is an important issue that we take seriously. We are committed to supporting our servicemen and women in exercising their democratic rights and overcoming the barriers that might prevent them from voting.
However, the introduction of electronic voting (‘e-Voting’) would raise a number of issues which would need to be considered carefully. The selection of elected representatives for Parliament is regarded as requiring the highest possible level of integrity and, at present, there are concerns that e-Voting, by any means, is not seen by many to be suitably rigorous and secure, and could be vulnerable to attack or fraud. Furthermore, the Electoral Commission in their reports on the 2007 e-Voting pilots found that it had little direct effect on increasing turnout. To provide a system over which there are doubts to part of the electorate would not be appropriate.