[E-voting] terrorism and electronic elections

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Mon Jul 11 16:51:32 IST 2005

Brian O'Byrne wrote:
> On Monday 11 July 2005 15:50, Pierre Muller wrote:
>>Brian O'Byrne a écrit :
>>>Yes, paper ballot elections are more robust. There are still
>>>single points of failure and the possibility for a single event
>>>to make it impossible to declare a winner. (Consider setting fire
>>>to the count center after ballot boxes have been opened, for
>>You would just have to re-hold the election.
>>What are the *invisible* single points of failure ?
>>People are often suspicious about what happen once ballots are
>>counted. Then they ask what is the use of worrying about election
>>control by citizens since post-voting phase is not citizen
>>controlled. It is probably robust (in our countries), but not
>>transparent at all. Internet could help. Should we (we the e-voting
>>activists) propose something ? Did anybody else propose anything ?
> Pierre,
> This is turning into another full discussion on the relative merits of 
> different voting systems, and that is ground we have all covered in 
> some detail.

I think it's a valid question (how transparent is the existing system?)
Others know better than I do, but I think in Ireland it is reasonably
transparent (opening the ballot boxes in public etc.), which means the bar
has to be set very high for electronic voting in this country if it
is to be at least as transparent as the old system. But that could
well be different in other places. Take India for example, it's arguable
that their electronic system might be more secure than their old paper

Does anyone know how accurate the unofficial tallies in Irish elections
are? How often do they predict the outcome correctly? Or put it another
way, what percentage of seats are generally too close to call from a tally perspective?

What other features of Irish election (counts) tend to reduce the
possibility for fraud? Do the counters work in pairs etc?
When a recount is requested, do different people do the checking?

It would not matter if these procedures weren't written in law,
just that they are common practise, and are observable.


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