E-Voting nobbled in Ireland

eVoting: Success! The use of e-voting systems for the June elections in Ireland has been abandoned, after a severely critical report from the Commission on Electronic Voting. Take a look at the report here. Some bits:

  • They particularly do not like the continual revision of the software, noting the ‘large number of new versions of the software since the original … review’ and ‘the fact that new versions of the software continue to be issued in the run-up to the June elections’.
  • ‘as the software version proposed for use at the forthcoming elections is not as yet finalised, it is impossible for anyone to certify its accuracy’. (my emphasis)
  • They were not given access to ‘the full source code’.
  • They found a bug! ‘certain of the tests performed at the request of the Commission identified an error in the count software which could lead to incorrect distributions of surpluses’.
  • ‘experts retained by the Commission found it very easy to bypass electronic security measures and gain complete control of the hardened PC, overwrite the software, and thereby in theory to gain complete control over the count in a given constituency’.
  • And they raised the pre-arranged-transfer-pattern hack: ‘publication of ballot results in full is a valuable aid in checking the accuracy of the results but this can in theory reveal deliberate voter signatures of low-preference votes which could allow voters to identify themselves in a context of corruption or intimidation’.

The use of VVAT, and changes to the counting procedures to remove randomisation, was outside the terms of reference, unfortunately, so it’s not totally over yet. But I can’t see the government getting away with re-introducing e-voting without VVAT now.

Finally, the opposition political parties are calling on the Minister to resign.

I’ve got to say — nice work to all the concerned citizens who’ve achieved this, despite the government’s continual stonewalling and secrecy.

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