[E-voting] rethinking how to reference the US experience

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Sun Apr 17 22:48:52 GMT 2005

Catherine Ansbro wrote:

> I have praised the existing Irish system on numerous occasions on 
> BBV.  If anyone from the DoE has read my compliments there they would 
> blush.  Ireland sets a fine example for other countries in many 
> ways--with its PR-STV voting, its observable counts, its tight ballot 
> custody.  It is crazy to throw this good reputation in the trash for 
> the sake of faster (but possibly completely inaccurate) results.

Couldn't agree more. The way the system has evolved over the years, 
appears (to me anyway) to have gotten better
and better. Take the recent change, where election deposits were found 
to be unconstitutional, so they replaced
them with payments for election expenses. This was undoubtedly a change 
for the better.

> Who benefits from this change?  I don't think we ever fully 
> investigated the chain of ownership and linking directorships in the 
> companies involved in developing the Irish proposed e-voting system.

It's a good question who benefits from the change. I don't think it has 
anything to do with the suppliers as such.
Remember the slogan the Govt. used to sell the system to the public : 
"Electronic voting - It's easier for everyone".
What they really meant was, "it's easier for us!"
Clearly, it makes little difference to the voter whether they are 
pressing buttons on a machine
as opposed to marking a paper ballot. In fact, since there are fewer 
voting machines
than old polling booths, it will probably be harder (or slower to be 
exact) for voters.
Nobody can doubt though, that it makes the job of the returning 
officers, and the franchise
section of the DoE a lot easier.

Electronic voting is basically the privatisation of the election system. 
The actual work involved
in collecting and counting votes has been outsourced to Nedap/powervote.

Personally, I'm not opposed to privatisation per-se.
What I find incredibly dangerous is that the Govt. does not see it for 
what it is, and
has therefore not put the right safe-guards in place.


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