[E-voting] democracy commission - relevant sections

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Wed Oct 26 14:10:32 IST 2005


p.20
E-voting – Electronic voting allows the electorate to cast ballots by
means of electronics such as a wired kiosk, the internet, telephone,
punch card and optical scan ballot.

p.30
The Democracy Commission recommends:
<snip>
Introducing electronic voting for all elections in Ireland and
Northern Ireland. The Commission believes that despite the bad
experience Ireland had with the first attempts at E-Voting it is a system
well worth introducing for the benefits it will bring. *The new evoting
system should consider innovations that permit people to
vote not only at polling stations but in supermarkets, post offices,
public libraries or on their personal computers or mobile phones.*
All sites would have to be accessible for disabled people. It is
imperative that such a system is introduced in a way that *promotes
confidence in the integrity of the system.* In Ireland, it is also essential
that the system staggers the counts, which are part of Irish
political culture and play a role in generating interest in politics and
elections, and preserves the information provided by them.

p.49-51
Electronic Voting
Electronic voting is *put forward as a mechanism to increase
turnout* as it can make voting more convenient and attractive by
using of different technologies to make voting more accessible.
E-voting was used for the first time in Ireland in the 2002
general election. Three pilot constituencies, Dublin North,
Dublin West and Meath, were chosen and the Government’s
aim was to use the system across the country for the 2004 local
and European parliament elections. *In its proposals the
Government promoted electronic voting as improving electoral
administration, providing earlier and more accurate results,
and easier voting for the public. In particular it would make
spoilt votes a thing of the past. *It is worth highlighting that in
the 2002 pilot schemes and the proposals for the 2004
elections the e-voting machines were (to be) located in polling
stations.* Increasing convenience was not a factor in the Irish evoting
experiment. Instead emphasis lay on efficiency in terms
of saving time and money.*

E-voting was not used in the local and European parliament
elections in 2004. *When the Commission on electronic
voting, set up by the Government to examine the proposed evoting
system, found that it was unable to verify the accuracy
and secrecy of the proposed system the Government postponed
introducing widespread e-voting.*

*Public confidence in electronic voting has been damaged
by this initiative and the Commission would question the
rationale of introducing a system of voting which not only fails
to guarantee increased participation but also risks the overall
integrity of the process.*

Yet any action that encourages more people to engage in
the electoral process is worth pursuing and the Commission
believes that *despite the bad experience Ireland had with the
first attempts at E-Voting it is a system well worth introducing*
for the benefits it will bring. The Commission believes that
*future e-voting initiatives need to have a voter verified audit trail
(VVAT) to secure the trust of the electorate and they should also
look to innovations that make voting more convenient by
allowing, for example, voters to cast their ballots in public
libraries, post offices, supermarkets etc.*

In keeping with its desire to facilitate participation across
all sectors of society, the Commission believes that electronic
voting should be used for all elections in Ireland and Northern
Ireland. Any new e-voting system should look to innovations
that permit people to vote not only at polling stations but in
supermarkets, post offices, public libraries or on their personal
computers or mobile phones. All sites would have to be accessible
for disabled people. *It is imperative that such a system is*
*introduced in a way that promotes confidence in the integrity of
the system. *In Ireland, it is also essential that the system
staggers the counts, which are part of Irish political culture and
play a role in generating interest in politics and elections, and
preserves the information provided by them.






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