Thursday, February 03, 2005

Canadian e-voting officials, behold your future: Ireland

Ireland On-Line Dept officials to face questions about e-voting fiasco Feb. 3, 2005

Officials ... are due before the Oireachtas public accounts committee today to answer questions about the electronic voting debacle.

The department spent around €50m on the initiative, which was then shelved due to security concerns.

The Government was planning to introduce the system nationwide during last year's local and European elections.

However, this plan was abandoned six weeks before the vote after an independent commission expressed concern about the accuracy of the voting machines and the possibility of electoral fraud.

ElectricNews.net Ireland faces EUR50m e-voting write-off - Thursday, February 03 2005
UPDATE 2005-02-09: This article has been corrected by the publisher. I have included corrections in bold.

A lack of public confidence in e-voting means that the Government may be forced into writing off its EUR50 million investment in electronic ballot systems


The government was due to introduce e-voting at local and European elections on 11 June 2004 but had to abandon its plans following the publication of an interim report of the Independent Commission on Electronic Voting (ICTE) [Ed. note: should be CEV] which raised doubts over the accuracy of the software used in the system.

According to the Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-Voting (ICTE) submission to the CEV, the chosen Nedap/Powervote electronic voting system had a fundamental design flaw because it had no mechanism to verify that votes would be recorded accurately in an actual election. Consequently, results obtained from the system could not be said to be accurate, claimed the five-member independent body.

Other flaws in the system identified in the ICTE submission included possible software errors and the use of the graphical user interface programming language Object Pascal for a safety-critical system.

Although the commission's remit was advisory, the government abided by its recommendation that the system not be used until further testing had established just how secure it was.

However, Michael Noonan told the Irish Times that even if the system was found to be safe, few ministers would give it the go-ahead because the public would have little trust in it.


"The criticisms contained in the report of the Independent Commission on Electronic Voting make it clear that this was a fiasco of the highest order," said Fergus O'Dowd TD., Fine Gael's spokesman on the Environment. "Considering all the information that is available to him, Minister Roche needs to fully explain the findings of these inquiries."

The above article unfortunately seems to have attached the acronym for the Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-voting (ICTE) to the Independent Commission on Electronic Voting (CEV). An easy enough mistake to make.

You know what's easier than spending millions of taxpayer dollars on an insecure, unnecessary system? I suggest spending the money on things the taxpayers actually need and want instead.
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