Ireland Latest To Scrap E-Voting Machines

from the good-for-them dept

Reader oxymoron alerts us to the news that Ireland has dumped e-voting machines, concerned both about the costs and the reliability and accuracy of the machines. It still amazes me that anyone is using these machines anywhere given the massive reliability and accuracy problems they’ve seen throughout the world. So it’s great to see countries finally realizing that perhaps democracy is aided by actually having voting systems that people can trust, rather black boxes that make it that much easier for people to distrust.

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Comments on “Ireland Latest To Scrap E-Voting Machines”

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15 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Strange, the entire elections in India are carried out using these machines with great accuracy and reliability”

In the last elections the Indian machines malfunctioned at 1,800 voting booths (out of 1 million), and voters needed to cast their ballots again. Still, that’s much better than US machines.

MadJo (profile) says:

News update

News update, the maker of the voting machines have asked the Irish government for its reasons.

Sorry, only a Dutch link at this time:
http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/57404/stemcomputerbouwer-nedap-vraagt-ierland-uitleg.html
Translation services are blocked on my end, so I can’t offer any of those links and say whether they’re decent or not.

Nedap claims that the news came out of the blue.

Apparently the Irish government bought all machines in one go, and they have it already in storage there.
Weird thing, the spokesperson of Nedap claims that the voting machines are just industrial machines which don’t require stringent rules regarding secure storage.

But I’d say if they aren’t stored securely, anyone could then go in and hack into the machines, thus rendering the machines basically useless for a transparant democratic process.

Beck says:

Is it really that hard?

It still amazes me that anyone is using these machines anywhere given the massive reliability and accuracy problems they’ve seen throughout the world.

What’s REALLY amazing is that these machines would have massive reliability and accuracy problems.

Computer systems have been written to handle all sorts of complex calculations with the utmost accuracy. Why can’t a voting system be created that is as accurate as our financial systems?

MadJo (profile) says:

Re: Is it really that hard?

Oh it can be very accurate, but is it transparant?

For a good democratic process, the voters need to be able to check the results. Which is easily done with a paper trail (just count every single ballot)
but a voting computer, you don’t have access to the source code of each and every machine.

Who is to say that there isn’t a subroutine put in there, that says every 10 votes, 1 vote goes to X party, no matter what the vote said. So if you were the tenth person, and you voted for Party L, the voting machine would say “Party L” on the screen when you press “VOTE”, but it would register “Party X”.
Now at the end of the day, the folks at the ballot station will then press a few buttons and out comes a result, but that result would be false.
But party L can’t demand a recount, because what are you going to recount?
You press the same buttons on the same machine and the same result comes out.

And now you have created a murky democratic process, not transparant at all.

Fancy stuff, voting computers, but they make the whole process needlessly troublesome. And for what? So that you can have a result a few hours earlier?

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