The principle of direct election is one of fundamental electoral principles and, despite its relatively clear content, is recognized by the constitutional law doctrine within three slightly varied meanings. Broadly understood, it means a one-level election, where the composition of an elected body is determined directly on the basis of the content of votes given by electors (voters). In a narrower meaning of the word, direct nature of election enables the voter to vote for a particular candidate, voters have an effect on the election of each candidate. In the narrowest meaning, the above-mentioned requirements are met and the voter votes in person in the polling station. This article examines, in the context of conformity with the principle of direct election, three voting techniques which do not require the voter's attendance in the polling station, i.e. proxy voting, voting-by-mail and e-voting. The author concludes that the principle of direct election is to the most extent impeded by proxy voting, because the way in which he/she votes cannot be verified. The proxy may behave against the will of his/her principal, which obviously violates the direct nature of election. As concerns distant voting, i.e. by mail or via Internet, one should bear in mind general conformity of those form of voting with the principle of direct election. The main obstacle concerning their use in the electoral process is the problem of reliability of the mail system and the creation of reliable electronic system resistant to manipulation. The presented voting techniques are today the most frequently applied democratic electoral standard and, as concerns e-voting, are considered a constituent part of future democracy. Therefore, despite some doubts as to their conformity with the electoral principles, it is very important requirement that their popularization in Poland be performed in a careful and competent way.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.