[E-voting] Odd S'Indo Article

bobb bobb at redbrick.dcu.ie
Mon Aug 21 03:48:24 IST 2006


http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1674000&issue_id=14532


Only e-voting can give a fair election result


LARA BRADLEY 

FIANNA FAIL could have won a landslide majority at the last election if the
e-voting system had been operating across the country, a leading expert has
claimed. 

The political scientist at Trinity College, Dublin, also insists that the ?60m
electronic voting system can yet prove value for money. 

Academic Liam Weeks, who has reported on the issue for the Commission on
Electronic Voting, says there is no need to scrap the costly system. He argues
that e-voting software should be adapted to correct "a major flaw" in the
system - the random distribution of surplus votes from candidates deemed
elected over the quota. 

He said: "It would have changed so much of national policy since. We would
probably have had the Bertie Bowl by now - because it was the PDs who forced
them to drop that." 

Mr Weeks' theory is based on a modification of the method of counting votes as
well as the introduction of electronic voting. 

He said: "Bringing e-voting in, but keeping the current rules is a complete
waste of time. The whole process has been a debacle. But if we had a slight
change to the way surplus votes were counted, it would create a better system,
one that could only be counted by computer. 

"The problem is we have spent so much on electronic voting already by putting
the cart before the horse. We can make it worth it in the long run only by
introducing this system." 

Under the current system, once a candidate reaches the quota his surplus votes
are distributed amongst the other candidates. But, according to Mr Weeks, this
"is not reflective of his entire package of votes because the surplus is taken
from the top of the last parcel of votes". 

Instead, Mr Weeks wants a system - called the Weighted Inclusive Gregory
Method - introduced. 

This looks at all the candidates' votes and then transfers all of the voter's
preferences as fractions of a vote. 

He said: "Reform is necessary, and could easily be achieved, as the
Constitution only mentions the general use of STVs, without reference to the
counting of votes. 

He maintains that an electronic system of counting votes was required because
of the difficulty in applying the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method to manual
counting. Without it, an element of chance remained which could have a
detrimental effect on the stability of our democracy.


-- 
Mr. Rogers could explain shoe-tying and make it seem like the coolest 
thing in the world. He was our Uncle and older brother. He told us we 
were special, and we knew he'd be there for us.
A cult leader, right down to the sneakers.



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