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

Fergal Daly fergal at esatclear.ie
Fri Apr 28 10:52:46 IST 2006

"Electronic voting methods must be secure and reliable. ...  they are reliable
if they can function on their own, irrespective of any shortcomings in
the hardware or software"

So it must work even when it doesn't work?


On 4/28/06, David GLAUDE <dglaude at poureva.be> wrote:
> I found this:
> http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2002/CDL-AD(2002)023rev-E.asp?MenuL=E
> 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
> officials.
> 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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