[E-voting] Letter to the Public Accounts Committee

Andrew Ó Baoill andrew at funferal.org
Tue Jan 25 21:26:55 GMT 2005


As an aside - not something I imagine can be covered fully in the=20
letter - international research suggests that electronic voting alone=20
has no measurable positive impact on voter turnout. Improved turnout=20
was something that was at least an implied benefit of the system, with=20=

references to the falling participation rates since the 1980s, though=20
it was rarely (if ever) stated explicitly as an expected benefit.

I raise this because 'usability' is quite a vague and strange concept -=20=

what is the benefit of perceived increased usability? Encouraging=20
greater participation seems one basic concrete benefit, but the=20
research shows that evoting doesn't actually achieve this - what else=20
does the touted improved usability achieve?

Andrew

On 25 Jan 2005, at 15:11, Karen Devine wrote:

> Regarding the section in the letter that says
>
> "that voting with buttons rather than a
> pencil may be =93easier=94 is a certain point of view, and not =
altogether=20
> an invalid
> one. Although perhaps such opinions should have been rendered more=20
> scientific
> through the use of usability surveys and research",
>
> the Department commissioned MRBI to carry out public opinion surveys=20=

> in each of
> the three 'test' constituencies (Dublin West, Dublin North, Meath) in=20=

> 2002 and
> the voters reported the system was very easy to use and most (87%)=20
> expressed a
> preference for the "voting machine" rather than the "paper ballot=20
> system".  So
> the Department has covered itself on that score.
>
> Of course the voters weren't asked to express a preference between a=20=

> flawed
> electronic system and a democratic, transparent paper system!
>
> Karen
>
>
> Quoting Colm MacCarthaigh <colm at stdlib.net>:
>
>>
>> 2nd draft:
>>
>> 	http://www.stdlib.net/~colmmacc/pacletter.pdf
>>
>> Sorry I don't have a text copy, it's almost unreadable when I export
>> it :)
>>
>> On Sun, Jan 23, 2005 at 11:35:59AM +0000, Colm MacCarthaigh wrote:
>>> The PAC will shortly be reviewing the matters surrounding the=20
>>> Electronic
>>> Voting PR contract. I'd like to throw in this grenade :) Comments
>>> welcome.
>>
>> --
>> Colm MacC=E1rthaigh                        Public Key:=20
>> colm+pgp at stdlib.net
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> E-voting mailing list
>> E-voting at lists.stdlib.net
>> http://lists.stdlib.net/mailman/listinfo/e-voting
>> http://evoting.cs.may.ie/
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> Karen Devine
> Doctoral Candidate
> Department of Political Science &
> Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS)
> Trinity College, Dublin
> Ireland
>
> Have you signed the petition at www.noneoftheabove.ie?
>
> _______________________________________________
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> E-voting at lists.stdlib.net
> http://lists.stdlib.net/mailman/listinfo/e-voting
> http://evoting.cs.may.ie/
>
>
--
Andrew =D3 Baoill
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -=20=

-
Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois
Communications / Participatory media / Political action
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -=20=

-
andrew at funferal.org / funferal at mac.com (AIM)
+1-217-332-3263 / +353-87-241-7003
http://funferal.org / Galway, Ireland / Urbana, IL, USA




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