[E-voting] VENICE COMMISSION talk about eVoting explicitly...

David GLAUDE dglaude at poureva.be
Fri Apr 28 09:02:10 IST 2006

I found this:

I extracted most interesting part where eVoting is expressed, but also
counting and transmiting the result. In Belgium we are moving forward in
data transmission of the result...




Adopted by the Venice Commission
at its 52nd session
(Venice, 18-19 October 2002)


adopted by the Venice Commission
at its 51st Plenary Session
(Venice, 5-6 July 2002)

I.         Principles of Europe's electoral heritage
3.         Free suffrage
3.2. Freedom of voters to express their wishes and action to combat
electoral fraud
iv. electronic voting should be used only if it is safe and reliable; in
particular, voters should be able to obtain a confirmation of their
votes and to correct them, if necessary, respecting secret suffrage; the
system must be transparent;


adopted by the Venice Commission
at its 52nd Plenary Session
(Venice, 18-19 October 2002)

I.         The underlying principles of Europe’s electoral heritage

3.         Free suffrage

3.2.      Freedom of voters to express their wishes and combating
electoral fraud

3.2.2.   Voting procedures Mechanical and electronic voting methods

42.    Several countries are already using, or are preparing to
introduce mechanical and electronic voting methods. The advantage of
these methods becomes apparent when a number of elections are taking
place at the same time, even though certain precautions are needed to
minimise the risk of fraud, for example by enabling the voter to check
his or her vote immediately after casting it.  Clearly, with this kind
of voting, it is important to ensure that ballot papers are designed in
such a way as to avoid confusion. In order to facilitate verification
and a recount of votes in the event of an appeal, it may also be
provided that a machine could print votes onto ballot papers; these
would be placed in a sealed container where they cannot be viewed.
Whatever means used should ensure the confidentiality of voting.

43.    Electronic voting methods must be secure and reliable. They are
secure if the system can withstand deliberate attack; they are reliable
if they can function on their own, irrespective of any shortcomings in
the hardware or software. Furthermore, the elector must be able to
obtain confirmation of his or her vote and, if necessary, correct it
without the secrecy of the ballot being in any way violated.

44.    Furthermore, the system’s transparency must be guaranteed in the
sense that it must be possible to check that it is functioning properly. Counting

45.    The votes should preferably be counted at the polling stations
themselves, rather than in special centres. The polling station staff
are perfectly capable of performing this task, and this arrangement
obviates the need to transport the ballot boxes and accompanying
documents, thus reducing the risk of substitution.

46.    The vote counting should be conducted in a transparent manner. It
is admissible that voters registered in the polling station may attend;
 the presence of national or international observers should be
authorised. These persons must be allowed to be present in all
circumstances. There must be enough copies of the record of the
proceedings to distribute to ensure that all the aforementioned persons
receive one; one copy must be immediately posted on the notice-board,
another kept at the polling station and a third sent to the commission
or competent higher authority.

47.    The relevant regulations should stipulate certain practical
precautions as regards equipment. For example, the record of the
proceedings should be completed in ballpoint pen rather than pencil, as
text written in pencil can be erased.

48.    In practice, it appears that the time needed to count the votes
depends on the efficiency of the presiding officer of the polling
station. These times can vary markedly, which is why a simple tried and
tested procedure should be set out in the legislation or permanent
regulations which appear in the training manual for polling station

49.    It is best to avoid treating too many ballot papers as invalid or
spoiled. In case of doubt, an attempt should be made to ascertain the
voter’s intention. Transferring the results

50.    There are two kinds of results: provisional results and final
results (before all opportunities for appeal have been exhausted). The
media, and indeed the entire nation, are always impatient to hear the
initial provisional results. The speed with which these results are
relayed will depend on the country’s communications system. The polling
station’s results can be conveyed to the electoral district (for
instance) by the presiding officer of the polling station, accompanied
by two other members of the polling station staff representing opposing
parties, in some cases under the supervision of the security forces, who
will carry the records of the proceedings, the ballot box, etc.

51.    However much care has been taken at the voting and vote-counting
stages, transmitting the results is a vital operation whose importance
is often overlooked; it must therefore be effected in an open manner.
Transmission from the electoral district to the regional authorities and
the Central Electoral Commission – or other competent higher authorities
– can be done by fax. In that case, the records will be scanned and the
results can be displayed as and when they come in. Television can be
used to broadcast these results but once again, too much transparency
can be a dangerous thing if the public is not ready for this kind of
piecemeal reporting. The fact is that the initial results usually come
in from the towns and cities, which do not normally or necessarily vote
in the same way as rural areas. It is important therefore to make it
clear to the public that the final result may be quite different from,
or even completely opposite to, the provisional one, without there
having been any question of foul play.

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