Monday, February 07, 2005

Ireland does things right

The good news is that Ireland is handling things properly.
The bad news (for e-voting enthusiasts) is that when you handle things properly, it immediately becomes apparent that the real costs of electronic systems are very high.

To analyze them, store them, certify them for each election...

Compare this with paper. How much analysis do you need to trust the paper voting system?

The Sunday Times - Ireland
E-voting study costs spiral

An independent assessment of the electronic voting system has cost the state €640,000 in less than a year.

The Commission on Electronic Voting was set up last March to advise the government on the safety and accuracy of the system. It has run up a bill of €640,000 up until the end of last year and its final cost is likely to be substantially higher. The group is planning to hire experts to run extensive tests on the voting system — which could take nine months — before it will be able to determine if it is usable. The technical work is likely to be costly.

Computerised voting was set to be rolled out last June in the local and European elections but was withdrawn at the last minute amid concerns over its accuracy. The government was attacked for failing to assess the reliability of the €52m system fully before purchasing it.

The 6,200 electronic voting machines are now being stored in warehouses across the country at a cost so far of €660,000.

“The system is flawed and will always be — the government should cut its losses. Spending more and more money on it may not be a wise thing to do. It has already cost a fortune and it doesn’t make any sense to keep throwing money at it in the vain hope that they will be able to use it in the future,” said Joe McCarthy, a chartered engineer and a strong critic of electronic voting.
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