The European Union and E-Voting: Addressing the European Parliament's Internet Voting Challenge

The European Union and E-Voting: Addressing the European Parliament's Internet Voting Challenge

The European Union and E-Voting: Addressing the European Parliament's Internet Voting Challenge

The European Union and E-Voting: Addressing the European Parliament's Internet Voting Challenge

Synopsis

This is the first book to systematically evaluate e-voting from the wider European perspective. It focuses on the European experience, thereby raising key issues at the heart of the social sciences, legal scholarship and technology studies in a penetrating and interdisciplinary manner. It coincides with a crucial juncture for European integration in which the Convention on the Future of Europe and the 2004 Intergovernmental Conference will discuss measures to further democratize the EU.

Excerpt

Introducing e-voting for the European Parliament elections

The constitutional problems

Andreas Auer and Mario Mendez

This chapter is divided into two sections that address, respectively, what may be called the two basic constitutional problems associated with the introduction of e-voting for the European Parliament (EP) elections. That is, first, the framing of an adequate legal basis and, second, ensuring the respect of fundamental and political rights.

The first part of this chapter explores not only the possibility of employing an existing legal basis, but also either amending it or creating a new one in order to ensure a tighter nexus between any Community legislative action in the e-voting sphere and the legal basis from which it stems. Resolving this dilemma should prove all the more vital in this new era of heightened sensitivity to the constitutional boundaries of Community action. the possibility of e-voting being pursued solely at the domestic level is also raised for consideration, with recent developments in the uk, toying with this option, being indicative of its promising potential. the conclusion is drawn that while the legal basis for e-voting is a matter worthy of serious deliberation, it is ultimately not at this hurdle that the e-voting agenda will encounter problems.

The second part of this chapter examines the potential impact that fundamental rights can have on this debate. It touches upon the complicated relationship between the Community legal order and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which is likely to rear its head if e-voting is introduced via Community legislative action. Recent jurisprudence from the Strasbourg-based court, shedding light both on this relationship, and the relevance of echr norms to ep elections, is also brought into the equation. Some specific aspects of the fundamental rights critique are then outlined, the most potent being the alleged incompatibility with a secret ballot. the position advanced is that with sufficient ex ante and ex post controls in place, fundamental rights objections should not pose a serious obstacle to e-voting. in sum, political will rather than competence and fundamental rights issues will determine the trajectory of e-voting.

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