Study on E-Voting Practices in the EU

December 2023

Study on E-Voting Practices in the EU_report cover

This report explores the use of e-voting in voter-facing processes – notably the use of Electronic Voting Machines and internet voting – in electoral processes across EU Member States. The report focuses on both existing practice and the potential for future use in the context of European Parliament, national, and local elections. The scope of the report includes the regulatory framework, current use, a focus on the specific case study of France, potential security issues, and the impact on citizens’ experience, ergonomics, and behaviour.

The report concludes with several recommendations for public institutions considering the implementation and/or expansion of the use of e-voting, which are outlined below.

Recommendations for the use of electronic voting machines:

  • Independent scientific advice should systematically be sought when it comes to the choice of options and settings that are fit for a specific polity (in particular, advice on the most desirable options should not come from the agents or companies which will be providing the technology to avoid conflict of interest);
  • Ensure the existence of a protocol where a citizen suspect an error that fully protects the secrecy of the vote;
  • Ensure that the use of electronic voting machines includes specific mitigation or separate paper alternatives for citizens living with disabilities, notably learning disabilities;
  • Ensure that no state, region or municipality is in a situation of long term electoral dependency towards a specific private provider.

Recommendations for the use of internet voting:

  • Ensure that internet voting is never the sole compulsory mode of voting (i.e. that polling stations continue to be offered as an alternative for citizens who wish to vote in person);
  • Ensure that internet voting is part of broader secure digital identity systems;
  • Ensure that early internet voting is paired with a right to regret one’s vote on election day.

In all cases, the report recommends ensuring that the use of any form of remote voting in voter-facing elements of elections is accompanied by elements of monitoring including the assessment of accessibility for citizens living with disabilities and models ensuring equality between citizens using electronic voting and those who are not.

Client: European Commission - DG for Justice and Consumers 

Authors: Sarah Harrison, Elisabet Vives, Giulia Gentile and Michael Bruter

Download final report