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No Longer Possible To Spoil Votes In Ireland?

eVoting: ‘Spoiling your vote’, e.g. writing in ‘none of the above’ on a ballot paper, is a legally-permitted response to a ballot in Ireland and many other countries. Secrecy in how you vote is constitutionally required.

Aengus Lawlor on the ICTE list points out that it appears the new e-voting system in Ireland will no longer permit spoiling to take place in secrecy.

Indeed, in the 7 constituencies where e-voting machines were trialed in the 2002 Nice Referendum, no spoiled votes were cast. Compare:

  • Carlow-Kilkenny: turnout 47,192, Spoiled Votes 244 (that’s 0.51%)
  • Cork North-West: 29,056, 144 (0.49%)
  • Dublin Central: 28,880, 115 (0.39%)
  • Dublin North-Central: 36,532, 93 (0.25%)

with the e-voting constituencies:

  • Dublin South: 51,229, 0
  • Dublin South-West: 31,336, 0
  • Dublin West: 25,659, 0
  • Dun Laoghaire: 50,070, 0

A pretty notable anomaly there, ignoring the wishes of 0.5% of the electorate.

On a separate issue — let’s hope the Powervote systems aren’t as bad as the Diebold ones. Here’s the RABA Technologies’ assessment of Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System security (PDF, 167KB), noting locks picked in 10 seconds, default passwords used to re-encode a voter card as a supervisor card, etc etc.