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

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Thu Jun 16 14:52:01 IST 2005


The convenience/efficiency side makes sense.  But would anyone check up 
on whether or not their votes were recorded accurately?  I suspect not. 

Without a paper record one would never know the difference. 

It would be a tempting target to hack if TDs were not able to prove how 
they voted.

If there were a TD-only website where they could access only their own 
voting slot (and see all the other voting slots, like a table) it could 
be interesting--but then again, what would interfere with someone 
changing that webpage after most of the votes had been entered?  
(Insider hacking)  It could happen, particularly with close votes (e.g., 
ones that could bring down the government).

Catherine

Michael McMahon wrote:

> 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
>
> Michael.
>
> 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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