Concept of text voting system revealed

A new SMS service could soon allow people to vote in elections by texting the name of their candidate, reports

Handivote from scientists at Glasgow University is looking to provide mobile owners with a simple way of pledging their vote, whilst ensuring each message can be checked for fraud.

Through the use of a system similar to the ones used by reality TV shows like ‘X Factor’, the scientists hope their easy-to-use programme will encourage more young people to turn out for elections.

In order to ensure all votes are sent by the phone’s owner, each household would receive a set of four-digit identification codes and PIN numbers in a hand-delivered envelope. According to, the local authority then receives SMS online through a specially-designed gateway, with all votes containing card numbers to prove they’re from the device owner.

Dr Paul Cockshott, one of the academics behind the system, claims Handivote is “very interesting” and hopes it will be used by local authorities in the not too distant future.

“We designed it with the view of being used in national votes as we think it will increase turnout especially with young people.

“I think it would be cheaper,” he adds. “All you need to do is print out the voting cards.”