[E-voting] Irish Times Article - eVoting Testing to Resume

Keith Martin keith at keith.gs
Thu Jun 2 09:43:53 IST 2005

Government to test e-voting system

Tim O'Brien

The Government has initiated a new round of assessment and testing of the
controversial €60 million electronic voting system currently in storage.

An advertisement for consultants to carry out an "additional security and risk
assessment of all aspects of the electronic voting and counting system" was
placed on the Government's e-tendering website yesterday.

After use on a trial basis in the last general election, the electronic voting
system was put on hold when questions arose over the ownership of the
electronic code underpinning the system.

There was further controversy when it emerged that storage of the machines,
which had been purchased by former minister for the environment Martin Cullen,
would cost millions every year in charges.

A spokesman for the current Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, said the
advertisement for consultants to carry out further tests on the equipment was
placed "after consideration by the Government. It is full steam ahead".

The new tests, which will be carried out in association with the Commission on
Electronic Voting, will include counting and validation of votes as well as
testing the general security of the system. The tests will particularly address
"key issues raised in relation to the secrecy and accuracy of the electronic

"This will build on the extensive range of tests and certifications which has
been carried out to date by independent testing agencies," according to the

Responding to questions from The Irish Times yesterday, a statement released on
behalf of Mr Roche said security and risk-assessment would take about three
months. The security and risk-assessment will encompass the following areas:

security measures and protections built into the voting machine and ancillary

security hardened stand-alone election PCs;

software encryption and safeguards;

installation and access controls;

risk analysis of potential for insider/outsider attacks, and

the adequacy of existing internal/external audit procedures.

"The objectives of the security and risk assessment are to assess the security
aspects of the Nedap-Powervote system, identify possible risks and threats
within the system application or environment and provide recommendations on
appropriate measures to be taken to enhance system security and minimise

The statement added that the consultancy contract was "to ensure that the system
as a whole performs reliably, securely and accurately".

The deadline for tenders is Tuesday, June 21st. The statement said "the
successful tenderer will be appointed in July, with the objective to complete
the security and risk assessment by the end of the summer".

All going well, electronic voting may be in place by the next election.

© The Irish Times

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