[E-voting] Draft PR

Colm MacCarthaigh colm at stdlib.net
Tue Apr 6 10:51:09 IST 2004

On Tue, Apr 06, 2004 at 10:42:29AM +0100, Colm MacCarthaigh wrote:
> Hey, it's been a while :)

Second draft, that was quick :)


DRAFT - not for release.

In a development that demonstrates the absolute need for verifiability in
computing systems it has been revealed that 5 submissions, submitted to the
commission on Electronic Voting via the www.cev.ie website in advance of the
March 26th deadline, were not received by the commission.  The fact that this
had occured was only noticed after the list of submission authors was published
by the commission and the missing submission authors noticed their own absence.

"This is the same verifiability we need in Electronic Voting" said Colm
MacCárthaigh of ICTE, "When the authors made their submissions, the website
informed them it had been received but it was not until the final list was
published that it was evident they had not. With the Powervote/Nedap Electronic
Voting system there is no means by which a voter can verify their vote has been
recorded correctly, this exact kind of problem would have gone unnoticed" he

ICTE have reviewed all 162 submissions, 84 of which make clear the neccessity
of voter-verified audit trail and over 150 of which are opposed to the
nationwide introduction of the chosen E-voting system. "It must now be
abundantly clear to the Minister that the calls for a voter-verified audit
trail are coming from a great many emminent IT professionals and academics"
said MacCárthaigh.

A comprehensive review of the submissions has also brought to light more
serious concerns regarding the security of the chosen system. In a submission
on behalf of Powervote, Mr. Roy Loudon revealed that "A new version of IES is
issued prior to each poll"; "releasing a new version prior to each poll limits
the time available for testing as well as provide ample opportunity for
defects to be introduced on a per-poll basis" explained Mr. MacCárthaigh.

It was also revealed by the Department of the Environment that the counting
machines are "pre-loaded" with an image, supplied by the Local Government
Computer Services Board, by Compaq prior to delivery. "Either public money is
being wasted on pre-loading software on the machines or the computer services
board are simply trusting a third-party with the installation of critical
software. Neither is appropriate in our opinion" said MacCárthaigh. 

Margaret McGaley is available for interview:
email: mmcgaley at cs.may.ie

phone: 087 755 4023

Colm MacCárthaigh is available for interview:

email: colm at stdlib.net

phone: 087 6578226

ICTE has a website available at


ICTE's main goals are:

    * to ensure that any electronic voting system introduced in Ireland
      meets the following criteria

        o includes a Voter Verified Audit Trail (VVAT),
        o a booth is used, analogous to the traditional polling booth,

        o all development uses formal methods,

        o all source code is open to public scrutiny and audit.

    * to prevent the use of the Nedap/Powervote system in Irish Elections 
      until it meets said criteria

    * to prevent the purchase of any more equipment or software from
      Nedap/Powervote by the Irish Government unless the system being
      purchased meets said criteria.

Colm MacCárthaigh                        Public Key: colm+pgp at stdlib.net

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