« | Home | Categories | »

Voting machines in Ireland and The Netherlands

Posted on August 8th, 2006 at 19:50 by John Sinteur in category: News


According to EDRIGRAM, the on-line newsletter of “European Digital Rights”, number 4.14:

On 4 July 2006, the Irish Commission on Electronic Voting released its second report on the secrecy and accuracy of the e-voting system purchased by the Irish Government.

The summary remarks at the beginning of the 200 page report say: “The Commission concludes that it can recommend the voting and counting equipment of the chosen system for use at elections in Ireland, subject to further work it has also recommended, but that it is unable to recommend the election management software for such use.”

The “further work” includes, among others:
1) add a voter verified audit trail;
2) replace the election management software (which prepares election data, reads votes from “ballot modules”, and calculates results) with a version that is developed to mission critical standards;
3) modify the embedded software within the voting machines to bring it up to mission critical standard;
4) make certain modifications to the machines themselves;
5) test all components to mission critical standard;
6) modify the specification for the PC that is to be used for vote management;
7) test the system as a whole (including end-to-end testing) to mission critical standard;
8) rectify the security vulnerabilities identified in the way data is transferred within the system.

This is quite a mouthful. In particular, the “mission critical standards” may be quite difficult to achieve as a retrofit. The article speculates that the responsible minister, who declares his intention to continue the project, “may not realize the extent of the changes required”. [Or is it a polite way of saying “No thank you”? -EK]

Full article at http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number4.14/evotingireland The article includes several links, including a link to the full report.

As far as I can make out from various sources, the voting machines in question are essentially the same as the Nedap machines used in The Netherlands for years. Little public criticism of these machines appears in the general press.

But they do, indeed, have problems: According to the “Bits of Freedom” newsletter:

In a local election, one candidate got 1, 3, 7, and 181 votes, respectively, in the 4 polling stations where he was a candidate. The candidate not only was en election official in the high-vote station, he operated the machine!

Peter Knoppers, according to the article an expert on voting machines, is quoted saying that manipulation of the machine by a voting official is “a piece of cake”. For example, if a key is turned at the exact moment of the vote being acknowledged by the voter, the vote will not be counted. The missed votes can then be added manually at a later time, for any candidate of your choice.

Full story (in Dutch) at http://www.bof.nl/nieuwsbrief/nieuwsbrief_2006_14.html This article also has several links, all in Dutch.

Write a comment

Check that URL!

Posted on August 8th, 2006 at 18:25 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft


Write a comment

Important Notice

Posted on August 8th, 2006 at 13:44 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

Let’s hope this picture was taken during the Keynote.


Write a comment

Mac OSX Leopard gets Sun’s DTrace

Posted on August 8th, 2006 at 13:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Software


Apple Computer has announced the next version of its flagship Mac OS X operating system will support Sun Microsystems’ open source DTrace performance analysis and debugging tool.

Write a comment

Apple WWDC 2006

Posted on August 8th, 2006 at 10:34 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

There’s now a webcast available of the WWDC keynote by Steve Jobs.

Write a comment