[E-voting] Response from the Minister

Aengus Lawlor aengusl at eircom.net
Fri Nov 26 18:53:52 GMT 2004

On Friday, November 26, 2004 6:24 PM [GMT],
Colm MacCarthaigh <colm at stdlib.net> wrote:

> Now, in the meantime, if there are specific points (keep them brief,
> and simple please!) that you feel should be raised, follow up and
> state them. We'll be compiling a list of friendly suggestions and our
> own recommondations from here, and I'll try and achieve consensus on
> the list before finalising it, and I guarantee the attendees will do
> their best to reflect the consensus.

One of the issues that most disturbed me about the conduct of the
"pilots" was the failure of the returning officers to release full
details of the actual count. It was only after calls to the Joe Duffy
show that we finally got details of the "residual vote", the hundreds of
voters who turned up to vote on the Nedap machines whose votes weren't
actually registered. Such a lack of transparency would be bad enough at
the best of times, but is utterly unacceptable at what is supposed to be
a public trial of new voting technology.

Aside altogether from the issue of electronic voting, one of the things
that I learnt over the last year or so was the huge lee-way given to
returning officers to interpret the rules as they see fit. Particularly
in the case of multiple-ballot elections, where some people might vote
1-2-3 on one paper, and 4-5-6 on the other paper, some returning
officers will discard the 4-5-6 ballots as "spoilt", and other returning
officers will count them. Clear and concise rules and regulations about
what is and what isn't a "spoiled ballot" would be a far more effective
way to address the issue of the poor voters that were disenfranchised by
spoiled votes that Mr Cullen cried so many crocodile tears over! This
undermines the argument that electronic voting was introduced to "fix"
the spoiled vote problem, as it's clear that "spoiled votes" were never
consider enough of a problem to do anything about before.


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