UK to launch Parliamentary inquiry into future e-voting

The U.K. government will launch a Parliamentary inquiry next year into the practicalities of electronic voting.

The House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee will carry out an inquiry on the first steps towards electronic voting, working with a sub-committee of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. They have requested public testimony and evidence by Jan. 14.

The U.K. government has long prized the benefits of e-government, though it has been struggling to meet its own deadline of putting all government services online by 2005. The government sees electronic registrations as the first building blocks for electronic voting.

The inquiry will evaluate the merits of electronic registration systems compared to paper-based systems, and will consider whether to set up a national electoral register. Current electoral registers are compiled and held locally.

There will also be questions about how to secure the electoral register, and on the issue of national identity cards, the Parliamentary committees said.

Last month, the government proposed legislation that would create a system of ID cards that carry biometric identifiers in an embedded chip, linked to a massive national database to be created by 2010.

The committees are requesting that written evidence be submitted in an electronic format, preferably by e-mail, in either Microsoft Word or Rich Text format. The e-mail address for sending information to the inquiry is