[E-voting] Letter in Today's Indo

Fergal Daly fergal at esatclear.ie
Mon Mar 8 10:50:39 GMT 2004


Seems the "debate" in the Indo is taking off now that the Times has dropped
it. They left out the best bit of my letter on Thursday!

On Mon, Mar 08, 2004 at 09:31:43AM +0000, Patrick O'Beirne wrote:
> >ICTE advocate a dual-vote counting system: electronic and the current 
> >manual-paper system. They call for accuracy, yet where disputes arise they 
> >want the paper system to have primacy, despite such inherent flaws as the 
> >random selection of surplus transfers and simple human error.
> 
> That's a difficult point to answer because it depends on what risks you 
> accept.

[snipped stats stuff]

This has been gone over quite a bit. Basically you just have to make sure
each electronic ballot corresponds to one and only one paper ballot. Have a
read of

http://www.fergaldaly.com/voting/vvat.html

and 

http://www.iol.ie/~aecolley/six.html

for some more details. Basically the random aspect is no more a problem than
it is with a paper only count.

> >Perhaps, in the interests of transparency and democratic accountability, 
> >they could answer a few questions. Why were they so silent when e-voting 
> >was test run in the last general election and the Nice referendum? Why 
> >were they not as vocal when the Government clearly signalled its plans to 
> >introduce e-voting some time back?
> 
> A sore point. It looks like the IT professional was generally asleep at the 
> wheel last time. And the losing side (e.g. Nora Owens) were too good 
> sports, and accepted the result trustingly. They did not challenge the 
> result at the time, maybe a constitutional challenge could have concluded 
> that the results were unprovable and therefore unreliable. Still, being lax 
> in the past is no reason to be lax now.

That would be a fair point to make, if the IT professional was actually at
the wheel! I think a lot of people assumed that the problems occurring in
the States made it obvious that this sort of system is a bad idea. It was
only as people realised that the government was steaming ahead anyway that
things started moving. It should also be pointed out also that Joe McCarthy
has been working on this for a couple of years now I think.

> >How are they constituted and are people like me, who believe the proposed 
> >system is better, welcome to join?
> 
> People like Derek need to join and make their points. How else does debate 
> get going?

There was debate at the Dail Committee but his party killed that off as soon
as it looked like a problem. There is debate in the Dail but the ministers
refuse to properly answer questions. There is debate on the TV but it's full
of nonsense, all coming from FF and the vendors.

If Derek actually has a real point (that hasn't been dealt with already)
then he is very welcome to join and make after making a series of unfounded
slurs against us "self-serving", "Luddites", "causing confusion",
"misrepresenting" I really doubt he's at all interested in a real debate,

F




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