Parper recount is not easy. Re: [E-voting] Re: terrorism and electronic elections

David GLAUDE dglaude at
Wed Jul 13 00:39:46 IST 2005

Paper vote recount are hard to do in Belgium... history prooved that to us.

There was an election for the Brussels Region some years ago. The result 
of the vote was very close and uncertain so that one of the seat could 
have been allocated to one party or another party.

The only way to tell would have been to recount it all over Brussels. At 
that time the vote was paper only (or half paper half electronic).

Apparently since the two party in dispute were going to make a coalition 
and that this seat was not required for the majority, there was no recount.

Doing a recount would have required to setup many new counting team. 
This is already hard to do the day of the election, but the week after 
no one wanted to try or pay the price to do it.

I was told that the seat was left empty

So when we used the argument to some knowledgable Brussel's politician: 
"Without paper there is no possible recount." we had the unexpected 
answer: "Even with paper there is no recount.".

We succedded in answering that without paper there is no COUNT. Later 
when the same storry line was used in the Belgian Senate by the same 
representative (that is member of both the brussels regional parliament 
and the national/federal senate=one of the chamber) the answer from 
another senator was that there was no political will to organise a 
recount but a recount would have been possible.

My conclusion is that there is room for improvement in the procedure and 
the way paper election are organised in Belgium. Law should be clear 
about when, how, what trigger, who pay a recount. I don't thing we have 


PS: I really need to check my fact as I do not remember much of those 
event. But the bottom line of the storry is that even when a recount is 
necessary, it is not organised.

Marian Beddill wrote:
> Your statement is so close to my studied position - ( 
> )  thanks.
> The electronic counting has value for STV methods and others similar, 
> when applied over dispersed geographic regions, whose separate 
> ballot-sets must be combined to obtain the result.  They CAN be 
> hand-counted, then the sets re-distributed and re-counted - but the time 
> needed and human resources to do so are significant, and the more 
> handling - by ever larger pools of workers - the greater the opportunity 
> for either errors or manipulation.
> And, if this has any merit, electronic counting gives the media and the 
> curious public a quicker answer.  I say that is a spurious "advantage", 
> having just watched the US Presidential race in 2000 (~35 days) and the 
> US Washington State Governor's race in 2004 (almost two months - more if 
> you count the lawsuit.)
> I'd happily wait for a solid trusted result.
> Marian Beddill

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