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e-voting in Ireland ‘poses a threat to our democracy’

Margaret McGaley has been investigating the Nedap/Powervote e-voting system that’s recently come into use in Ireland, as part of her undergrad thesis, and the conclusion is not good: ‘E-voting poses a threat to our democracy’. She goes on:

I hope to mount a campaign over the next few months with the following goals:
  • to prevent the use of the Nedap/Powervote system in Irish elections,
  • to prevent the purchase of any more equipment or software from
    • Nedap/Powervote by the Irish government, and
  • to convince the government that any electronic voting system used in this country should be developed here, using formal methods and the Mercuri method, and should be open source.

More info at the the report site.

The Nedap/Powervote e-voting system is the one that the Irish government never bothered getting a copy of the source for, instead doing a basic under-NDA source audit. Reportedly, there were comments in the resulting review doc along the lines of ‘The source code and comments for this section is in Dutch, so we’re not sure exactly what it does’. And if that’s not bad enough, it runs on WinCE, with the votes tabulated in an Access database. ;)

Let’s hope Nedap/Powervote use their election-fixing powers purely for good, and not for evil! ;)

BTW, myself, I’m surprised the Irish government (a) went to a Dutch company for the technology to do this, and (b) didn’t get hold of the entire system’s components and source, or at least do a stronger audit, given their experience of imported computing devices including some ‘bonus functionality’ in the past.

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