[E-voting] "Secrecy" and "Accuracy"

Colm MacCarthaigh colm at stdlib.net
Thu Mar 25 12:11:47 GMT 2004

On Thu, Mar 25, 2004 at 11:53:37AM +0000, Stan Nangle wrote:
> If anyone saw The Week In Politics on Sunday night you will know that the perception in 
> political circles is that the Commission "are working under the reality of Electronic 
> Voting for the June Elections".
> The object of the Commission is to rubber stamp the Minister's decision, and to kick to 
> touch anything which might conflict with that objective - so much so, its a wonder Ronan 
> O'Gara wasn't appointed as a member!

The perception may be this alright, but I think it is indisputable that
the system as proposed is unverified and poses a major threat to
democracy. If the commission is looking for a back door out, I think it
will be along the lines of:

	"There are some doubts about the system, and these need to be
	looked at, but at this time we think that, on balance, not 
	using electronic voting would produce a more inaccurate result 
	(mistakenly spoiled ballots) than using the chosen system."

We'll see though, they do have reputations to guard and frankly it is
going to be *very* hard for them to back the system and look credible.

No matter what, the introduction of Electronic Voting like this (without
VVAT) will lead to a judicial review procedure, so it's a messy
prospect. On the whole, I have some confidence in the commission. Thus
far they've been open enough. 

> They will test every point for relevance, so it it critical that the linkage is 
> explicitly made to either, or both, the words secrecy and accuracy at every possible 
> opportunity.
> You cannot be too pedantic in proving the linkage, as points that do not meet the 
> relevance tests - in the eye of some Civil Servant - will not make it through to the 
> members of the Commission. 

Indeed, although the fact that the secetariate will be publishing all of
the (presumably accepted) submission means that it would transparently
obvious if a relevant submission or relevant parts of a submission got
rejected :) 

I would be surprised if all but the most frivolous, non-sensical and
irrelevant submissions did not pass unaltered into the hands of the

> The Commission will not see any point that is not explicitly relevant to the TOR!
> While it is highly unlikely that the Commission will do/say anything approaching what we 
> are suggesting, it is critical that we have the ammunition to win the next chapter of the 
> spinning war.
> That will start on May 2.

Indeed :)

> Congrats to all who have worked on submissions. I know of one person who only went to bed 
> in the last two hours.

great stuff :)

> For those who still have a couple of cans of Jolt left, we could do with a Press Release 
> for tomorrow.

It might be a good opportunity alright :) Have we a collection of
submissions to publicise? I'll knock on the usual doors :)

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

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