With a mouse click, an expat casts his french vote, from beijing – Huawei Wireless Router

Yesterday, France (of which I am a citoyen ) made it a whole lot easier for me to do so. I cast my ballotonline in parliamentary elections the first time this has beenallowed. In fact, France is only the second country in the world to allowInternet voting in a national election, ( Estonia has been doing it since 2007), offering an online ballot tocitizens living abroad. Not only that, we were voting for one of 11seats in parliament specifically reserved (for the first time) fordeputies representing expatriates. I say the system made it a whole lot easier. OEM Wireless Router

But, not exactly. In fact, all in all, it probably took me longerthan it would have done to nip over to the French embassy to votein person at the polling station there next Sunday. But that wasbecause of security concerns, and it took a phone call to ahelpline agent in France to sort out various problems with Javascript before I could cast my virtual vote. Security concerns, of course, are what stop Americans from beingable to vote online. Huawei Wireless Router

The Pentagon tried a system in 2000 for its personnel deployed overseas, butdecided it was too vulnerable to hackers and abandoned it. The French are pretty cautious too. Only people registered at aFrench consulate could vote online, and each voter needed a 10character personal code sent (once only) by SMS to a mobile phoneand another 10 character password sent to a verified e-mailaddress. I am no computer geek, but if complexity is any indication ofsecurity I am comfortable with the procedures in place. After I hadvoted I was sent a control code that I can use to ensure thatmy vote is counted: that code comprised 337 digits, symbols, andletters in upper and lower case, more than four lines. China Customized Cell Phones

If my math is right, that means there are 65 to the power of 337possible combinations of the components of my code. Prettypersonalized. In fact the technical aspects of voting were only the half of it.The real challenge was political: My constituency covers 41countries, from Vanuatu to Ukraine , and I had to choose among 21 candidates, only one of whom I hadheard of before the elections. He was a minister in recently-defeated President Nicolas Sarkozy s last government and is the only candidate presenting himself inmy constituency who has never lived abroad.

As far as I mconcerned, that rules him out from the start. So I read a whole lot of online manifestos, and made my choice, andmoved my cursor to the appropriate button and clicked my leftmouse-key. Democracy in action, in the heart of Beijing . A shame you have to be a citoyen francais to enjoy it…

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