Saturday, November 26, 2005

e-voting in Quebec: we are jammin'

Electronic voting machines that jammed in several municipal elections in the province last week and spewed out contradictory results have robbed Quebecers of their confidence in the voting system, former mayoral candidate Pierre Bourque says.

That's why he's banding together with other failed candidates from Quebec City and Trois Rivieres to mount a constitutional challenge against electronic voting in the hopes of having new elections ordered in the three cities, Bourque said at a press conference at his Vision Montreal party headquarters.

"Anyone has the right to have a vote," Bourque said, joined by candidates from the other cities. "And this was not the case."

The candidates will also write to Quebec's chief electoral officer to demand an investigation.

This week, a judge ordered a manual recount for 15 of Montreal's 105 council positions. The recounts are to begin Tuesday.

Hugo Lepine, who lost a bid for a council seat in Quebec City, said candidates in his municipality who want recounts are stymied because the city used an entirely electronic voting system. There are no paper ballots to recount, Lepine said. (Montreal had paper ballots fed into a vote-counting machine.)

Bourque and his Quebec City and Trois Rivieres counterparts say their constitutional challenge would be based on the principle that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Quebec's charter of rights provide every citizen a vote. That right is eroded when election results are riddled with errors because of failed equipment, Bourque said.

from Montreal Gazette - Machines let us down - November 17, 2005

An entirely predictable fiasco. The machines didn't let us down, they behaved as expected. Emphasis in above quoted text is mine.
Remember as I have said before: elections are not about counting votes efficiently, they are about building consensus that the will of the voters was fairly represented. When you have many people (thousands, millions) who willingly consent to be governed by a tiny number of people (a few hundred) then they must have confidence in the system that selects those who will govern.
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