[E-voting] Electronic Voting in the Dáil Yesterday

Ciaran Quinn election at polarbears.com
Thu Dec 1 00:18:00 GMT 2005

Colm MacCarthaigh wrote:

>On Wed, Nov 30, 2005 at 11:14:24PM +0000, Ciaran Quinn wrote:
>>I wonder could questions be asked such as:-
>>1. Has a legal opinion been sought as to the constitutionality or 
>>legality of the electronic voting system?
>>2. Has a legal opinion been sought as to the constitutionality or 
>>legality of the way voting was conducted in those constituencies in 
>>which electronic voting was used in the general election and referendum 
>>in 2002?
>>3. Has the government any plans to seek a legal opinion on the legality 
>>of the electronic voting system?
>>Presumably they couldn't (or shouldn't) spend money on testing if they 
>>know it is illegal? (I am thinking about the legal opinion about nursing 
>>home charges)
>Hmm, I like that idea, and we certainly have channels. I think the
>questions would need to be more pro-active though, how about;
>	1. Bearing in mind that any electronic voting system without a
>  	   Voter-Verified Audit Trail will, by design, be categorically and
>	   provably subject to undetectable errors; has a legal opinion
>	   been sought as to the constitutionality of such a system, and in
>	   particular whether the Government would be adequately
>	   safeguarding the constitutional right to democracy in the
>	   event of such a system being put to use?
Personally, I prefer a simple question that doesn't allow any waffling. 
For example, the above question might get an answer such as "the govt. 
has not sought advice about the legality of VVAT".

I know that there are some restrictions about questions relating to 
legal matters but hopefully the question could be put.

>	2. If not, does the Government have any plans to seek legal
>	   advice on the matter?
>I wouldn't ask the question 2, because I'm not sure it works in our
>favour. The law is quite complicated there, in that the polls have been
>certified, which makes them legal regardless of anything else. Nobody
>challenged those polls.
Regarding question 2 - I was just thinking that, even within the Dept.of 
the Environment, there may have been concerns about the conduct of the 
election which might have caused them to seek legal advice. Perhaps the 
question should be rephrased as:-

    Has a legal opinion been sought in relation to the conduct of 
elections or referendums where an electronic voting system is used?

The point of the question is that it is not the electronic voting system 
as such that is illegal, but that elections in which the system is used 
may not be sufficiently democratic.



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