[E-voting] [Fwd: Green TD calls for pilot e-voting project for TDs - Make elected representatives more productive - says Gogarty]

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Thu Jun 16 14:23:49 IST 2005

In fairness, the press release does (in the last paragraph)
point out the major difference between (non-secret) Dail votes and
secret ballot elections. The most serious problems surrounding e-voting
do not apply in non-secret votes.

I think it's an interesting idea


Catherine Ansbro wrote:
> Was I surprised to see the following press release.  The desire for 
> efficiency is laudable.  But I am horrified at the implications. 
> This would be the beginning of a very slippery slope.  If e-voting is 
> "ok" for TDs who are enacting legislation, why should it be "less ok" 
> for elections?  Can you imagine the implications of this suggestion?  
> This would probably be even easier to hack than the proposed e-voting 
> system.  Since there'd be no paper trail no one could prove that they 
> really voted how they think they did.  Just think of the interesting 
> legislation that might get passed by fraudulent means.  (E.g., someone 
> could say, "oh, you must have pressed the wrong button."  And unlike 
> elections, where there is a procedure for appealing a decision or 
> calling for a recount, how would one address the possibility of a Dail 
> or Seanad vote being hacked?)  Would the legislation be legal or not?  
> Would TDs even pay attention to whether or not their votes were recorded 
> accurately?
> The person(s) responsible for this press release are clearly not clued 
> in at all on the very real security issues.  (Dep. Gogarty is not the 
> person with the brief for local gov't/e-votingissue; that was Ciaran 
> Cuffe, who was briefed in 2002.) 
> Introducing e-voting should not be used as a substitute for the 
> badly-needed overhaul of an appallingly inefficient Dail system.
> There are surely other solutions that would improve efficiency that 
> would be more secure.  (E.g., each party could have dedicated phone 
> lines manned by a staff person who would require TDs to give a secret ID 
> number plus other confidential information in the same way a bank 
> verifies one's identity, taping the conversation and recording their 
> vote on paper and then submitting it, or some variation of this.  Since 
> the number of TDs is small this would not be such a major issue.)  Or 
> maybe other folks here could think of far better ideas.  I don't know 
> how practical it would be to have a "window" of time in which TDs could 
> record their votes by phone or in person.
> This press release says to me that the Green TDs never understood the 
> depth of the problems connected to all forms of e-voting.  I guess they 
> have not kept up with the horror stories coming out of the USA, where 
> machines are now failing audits and some have already been 
> de-certified.  The e-voting machines here have many of the same 
> vulnerabilities.  But here in Ireland we can't even do an audit because 
> all the records were destroyed long before Joe McCarthy's FOI requests 
> revealed  there were problems.  God only knows what we'd find if we 
> still had access to the machines used on the 2002 pilot that was such a 
> technical failure while being touted at the time as a "success."
> Thoughts, anyone?  Should ICTE put out a press release responding to 
> this proposal?  Should someone from ICTE contact Dep. Gogarty to brief 
> him on this issue?  Does anyone here at ICTE think my concerns are 
> unfounded?
> Catherine
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: 	Green TD calls for pilot e-voting project for TDs - Make 
> elected representatives more productive - says Gogarty
> Date: 	Thu, 16 Jun 2005 13:16:53 +0100
> From: 	srawson at oireachtas.ie
> To: 	newsdesk at rte.ie
> Proposal for electronic voting outside of the Dáil chamber.doc)
> 16th June 2005
> Green TD calls for pilot e-voting project for TDs
>         Make elected representatives more productive - says Gogarty
> The Green Party has called on the Government to initiate a study on the
> feasibility of an electronic voting system for TDs and Senators who are
> unable to physically attend a vote.   Green party Education and Science
> spokesperson, Paul Gogarty TD, believes a pilot project could be set up
> which could be expanded if the move proves successful.
> "We live in an electronic age and in a country where Oireachtas members
> play an equal role as legislators and as constituency representatives. Many
> members are forced to waste time hanging around the Dáil or Seanad to vote
> on an issue they are not directly involved in. As a result their work on
> other legislation and constituency matters suffers. It would make sense, if
> the technology is present, to allow certain votes to be made remotely, that
> is away from Dublin. In this way, members could fulfil their obligations to
> vote while also carrying out other work they are elected to do," stated
> Gogarty.
> The Green TD's call comes in the wake of a paper circulated to Oireachtas
> members by Peter Thornes, a radiologist returning to Ireland after several
> years in Europe and South America. Deputy Gogarty says that if the
> technical hurdles could be overcome, electronic voting could revolutionise
> the way politics is carried out.
> "There are two schools of thought in relation to the current system. On the
> one hand you have empty chambers because TDs are busy doing work elsewhere,
> while keeping a close eye on the monitors. And then the place fills up for
> a vote. Thousands of minutes are wasted getting to and from the chamber.
> Yet Ministers and their opposition counterparts do not have to turn up
> because of pairing arrangements. Is it right that they do not share the
> same voting obligations as other members of the Houses? I believe that the
> vote is what counts, not the location," explained Gogarty.
> "While concerns have been raised about electronic voting nationally because
> of the lack of a verifiable trail, with TDs and Senators the situation is
> different, because the voting is carried out in public. Huge advances have
> been made in mobile technology and a system combined with fingerprint
> recogition could work very well. This is why I am urging the Government to
> investigate the feasibility of remote electronic voting. A pilot scheme
> could be carried out initially for committee votes and if this is
> successful it could be explanded," he said.
> Paul Gogarty TD                           01 618 3022 / 087 275 2489
> Stephen Rawson Press Officer              01 618 4088 / 087 235 7551
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