[E-voting] Submissions to independent panel/John Lambe's application

Michael McGrath mmcgrathbl at eircom.net
Fri Mar 12 18:15:54 GMT 2004


Regarding the submissions to the panel, were we to define "Accuracy" as meaning the accurate recording of the will of the voter, it is a short step to argue that VVAT is the optimal means to secure accuracy. 

I recommend that we focus on our strongest point: VVAT, showing 1) the technical reasons why an electronic voting system should have VVAT and 2) the practical consequences of not having VVAT in other jurisdictions, explaining how they are relevant to any electronic voting system.

There is a danger that in focusing on the submissions, public opinion will move on to other matters and we should continue attempting to win the public's hearts and minds (which may have been a factor in establishing the panel). For that reason I again recommend, with his permission, distributing John Lambe's application widely through e-mail. I agree with the criticism that an actual attempt to rig an election is likely to be more subtle, however it is difficult to argue against the need for VVAT after seeing it in operation. Although I am sure that there are people of such technological nous as to superciliously dismiss simple computer programs, the persons we wish to win over to our side are not at that exalted level. Let's aim for the what Americans call the water-cooler conversation (do people actually converse at "the Ballygowan machine") of "I got this e-mail today which shows how easy it is to rig electronic voting". I venture to suggest that that would have a greater persuasive effect on public opinion than jargon concerning unintended operational failure.

Michael McGrath
Barrister at Law
Courthouse Chambers
Washington Street
Cork
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