Down Under, The E-Voting Is Open Source

from the step-in-the-right-direction dept

While the problems with Diebold's electronic voting machines in the US are well documented, it looks like folks in Australia are taking a much smarter path to create secure electronic voting machines. They made sure that the voting software was open sourced, and that it was reviewed by independent parties - something that Diebold and other voting machine makers in the US refuse to do. Admittedly, the machines in Australia don't have a paper receipt, in case of an audit, but even the lead engineer on the project there thinks they should add that. He has a great line when asked to respond to the complaints from the industry that adding a paper receipt to electronic voting machines would add considerable expense: "Did anyone ever say that democracy was meant to be cheap?"
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  • identicon
    notdorphus, 4 Nov 2003 @ 3:03am

    hmmm

    the act is the smallest & newest parliament in au & compared to brisbane, it should have just been a council. being the newest, they also had a chance of having more modern voting methods (hare-clarke ?), including e-voting. the fact that its open source & created locally says a lot for small grassroots politicians.
    unfortunately, the rest of the country, especially the neo-con federal politics, are too entrenched in the two party, gravy train to want to make any changes, unless it means more money or more power for themselves. more accountability or ease of use dont rate high in state or federal politicians unless the (tame)media grabs it. as for open source, micro$oft has been throwing buckets of money at lobbyists (shrub style) to keep their entrenched monopoly going.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2003 @ 6:04am

    devil is in the details....

    ...of course, in Australia, having an audit trail is actually possible because everyone *must* vote (or face being fined for not showing up at the
    polls to support the shocking lack of choice). And considering a remarkable amount of money can be generated from pure apathey, I understand why .au is particularly agressive about enforcing their voting laws.

    Then again, they tried to fine me after I had been working there for less than 6 months (and I wasn't even a citizen). The scary thing was I wasn't creating a paper trail of any kind (no inbound snail mail other than bulk advertizments, no credit card usage, no bank transfers and all transactions done in cash, including paying rent).
    Only the phone and lease were in my name. So much for privacy in Australia, but hey, look on the bright side: at least I could have voted if I wanted to.

    I think that if this experiment were tried in the good old USA, an audit trail would be pretty useless. Of course, I haven't voted since I found out, from a libratrian friend who was running for office, just how easy it was to get voter records and the vast amount of information it could be cross referenced against for a modest campaign
    expenditure. Privacy died a long time ago in the USA, but hey look on the bright side: at least they leave me alone come election time.

    Finally... considering the an election can be "engineered" by duping a buch of senile old people in a single geographic region and that when things are 50/50, a representivie democracy is anything but, I don't really think we need to worry that much about having "fair" "elections" in the first palce.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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