[E-voting] Third party code

Aengus Lawlor aengusl at eircom.net
Thu Jun 2 19:32:45 IST 2005

Brian O'Byrne wrote:
> For example: we know the count machines run an operating system and
> database application provided by Microsoft.

I made the point yesterday, and I'll make it again today. The PowerVote ERS
software is not doing a hugely complex job. It uses a database for
convenience, but it would be possible to do the job with plain text files if
you wanted. Most of the complexity in the application actually comes before
the election, in setting up and programming the modules with the various
candidates names and party affiliations. The actual counting process is not
hugely complex.

(As I understand it, it's also not correct to refer to a "database
application from Microsoft" or to an Access database. As far as I know, the
PowerVote application uses the odbc calls to the default Jet database
engine. This happens to be the same engine as Access uses, but I don't think
that Access is installed on the Count machines).

> The keyboard on the voting machines is proprietary, so presumably
> there must be a device driver for it.

The whole NEDAP voting machine is proprietary - it's not a Windows machine
with a funny keyboard.

> Did that originate with NEDAP
> or a third party? Similarly the device driver for the memory modules.
> I remember there was Roxio CD burning software mentioned in the spec
> for the count machines, so that is another third party source of
> code.

Off the shelf software is arguably safer than custom code for the situation
we are talking about - it's a reasonably safe bet that the developers at
Roxio didn't build in a special Nedap hacking module on the off chance that
their software might end up counting the results of an Irish Election.


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