[E-voting] Submissions to the Commission

Colm MacCarthaigh colm at stdlib.net
Fri Mar 12 11:44:50 GMT 2004

On Fri, Mar 12, 2004 at 11:09:07AM +0000, Margaret McGaley wrote:
> I disagree. The commission have a very short time to process all the
> submissions they get, and the more they get the less time each will recieve.
> I'd be more inclined to say that Colm and Adrian's submissions should both be
> made individually, and that ICTE should make a submission focussing
> exclusively on VVAT (perhaps with a brief mention of other concerns, but
> noting that other submissions will be made by individuals). I presume Joe
> McCarthy is going to make a submission too. 

I think if a submission is made focusing exclusively on VVAT, it will be
disregarded. The commission are looking for submissions on 

	"the secrecy and accuracy of the chosen Nedap/Powervote
	electronic voting system and the testing thereof."

and make it pretty clear that they will only consider submissions
falling within those terms of reference. In my opinion, that means that
points regarding VVAT will only be relevant is provided in the context
of a lack of a VVAT being a critical design flaw of the Powervote/Nedap
system to be used.

So, if we make a submission saying "VVAT is a neccessary component of
any electronic voting system ... therefore this one is untrustworthy"
this has less chance of suceeding than "The Powervote/Nedap system does 
not have a VVAT, this is a critical design flaw and leads directly to 
the system not being safe."

It's a very subtle difference, but it's the kind that the terms of
reference seem designed to draw out.

Additionaly, the CEV has added a press release and public notice
to its web-site. There are a few oddities worth noticing. The public
notice has this to say at the bottom:

  "Persons interested in making submissions should note that the Commission
  will only consider submissions falling within the scope of its terms of
  reference as outlined above."

Which I thought was odd when I saw it in the paper, because the above
does not actually contain the terms of reference. Indeed, the above
contains the spurious phrase:

  "The Commission, which is independent in the performance of its
  functions, has been appointed by the Government to report on the secrecy
  and accuracy of the Nedap/Powervote electronic voting system chosen for
  use at local and European elections in Ireland in June 2004 and as used
  in selected constituencies at the Dáil general election and the Nice II
  Referendum in 2002."

Which is not in the terms of reference, and contains an implicit
falsehood.  The system chosen for use in June is not the same as the
system used in 2002.  They differ in many respects, not least the
counting software and capacity to perform multiple polls.

I might mail asking about this. Also, the press release clarifies
that the Commission will work and meet in private.

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

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