[E-voting] ‘Paper trail’ wanted for vote
cansbro at eircom.net
Mon Apr 17 00:15:17 IST 2006
‘Paper trail’ wanted for vote
The Sunday Times - Ireland
The government will face increased pressure to fit printers to its
electronic voting machines when a commission set up to investigate the
system publishes its findings.
The independent Commission on Electronic Voting (CEV) is expected to
highlight the use of printers as a means of increasing public trust in
electronic voting, when it reports in a few months. The €51m system is
in storage pending the outcome of tests.
A number of American states considering buying the same system are
demanding they be able to produce a record of votes. A verifiable paper
trail is also considered best practice by the European commission.
Because the CEV was asked to report on the accuracy of the system in its
current form, the issue of printers is technically outside its scope.
However, it will be raised in its next report.
Nedap Powervote, the Dutch firm that supplied the Irish machines, is
marketing its ballot modules in America in conjunction with a local
operator, Liberty Election Systems.
The Dutch company has consistently argued that its machines do not need
printers to ensure reliability. But it will introduce them in America
because they are required by law in some states.
In Ireland, a paper record would assure voters that their ballots were
correctly recorded by the machine and should increase confidence in the
The Department of the Environment has argued against a paper trail,
pointing out that machines are used elsewhere in Europe without them and
that it could complicate matters. If voters said the printout was
different from what they entered, chaos could ensue.
Ireland’s electronic voting system was piloted in three constituencies
in the general election of 2002. It was suspended after the CEV said it
was not in a position to recommend its use as it had not had sufficient
time to test it fully.
The government is currently spending €700,000 a year storing the machines.
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