[E-voting] RE: Epic leak of commission report

Stan Nangle stan at voyager.ie
Sun Jul 2 23:16:11 IST 2006

A Chairde,

One important factor to remember is that the Minister relied on the information he 
received from his officials, and he was granted permission to sign the contract by the 
joint committee after they had [cough] done a thorough examination of the issues.

If we look at the fifth paragraph of Niall Callans testimony on the 18th of December, we 
note that it hasn't taken him long to lie about the operation of the system.


"The count function is not based on a PC ...."

There are lots more errors, ommissions and downright lies in Mr Callan's testimony - not 
least his promise to provide answers to Joe McCarthy's questions; answers that still had 
not been provided the last time I corresponded with Joe earlier this year.

The real problem, however, lies in the way the Committee analysed the material presented 
to it, how it adopted a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, approach to the (often contradictory)
information provided in the verbal responses from the Department/Vendors 
representatives, and how the members of the Government parties on the Committee insisted 
on voting to enable the Minister to place the order in spite of having been clearly told 
that there were problems with the system - problems that have been subsequently affirmed 
by the CEV.

Had they never heard of caveat emptor?

>From the Committee record, at the afternoon session on the 18th:

Deputy Kelleher: "I understand the concerns that some have expressed. Having listened to 
the views of the witnesses and the Department officials, I believe we should try to 
support the introduction of electronic voting. Reference was made to the fact that it 
does not matter if we do not introduce it in time for the local and European elections. 
However, it should be put in place as soon as possible to expose voters to it and ensure 
they have full confidence in it before the next general election.

The Department said it would answer in detail the questions posed by Mr. McCarthy. If he 
has any concerns about the answers, we can invite him to attend the committee again. In 
the meantime, we should try to express confidence in the Department officials charged 
with the responsibility of overseeing elections. Nobody is questioning their integrity 
but one could question their competence if, at the end of our deliberations, we were 
still delaying in spite of their advice to the contrary and their view that the system 
will work well.

Deputy Johnny Brady, and others who were elected to Dáil Éireann by the electronic 
voting system, have expressed confidence in it. Voters in the three constituencies 
concerned registered no complaints. The only issue at stake was the way in which the 
results were announced, but the Department has stated it will address this. We could 
debate this issue and listen to contributions by witnesses forever but we have to make a 
calculated decision on it. I suggest that we accept Deputy Cregan's proposal."

The following members of the Committee all voted to allow the purchase contract to be 

Deputy John Cregan. Deputy Noel Grealish. 
Deputy Michael Moynihan. Deputy Mildred Fox. 
Deputy Billy Kelleher. Deputy John Moloney. 
Deputy Seán Power. Senator Michael Brennan. 
Senator John Dardis. 

This was a contract for +/-E50 million, for a system whose integrity was being 
aggressively questioned by the IT Industry and Academics, and the Committee members had 
heard the Vendors and Officials obfuscate practically every hard question put to them in 

If these Committee members had been doing their jobs properly - jobs they are extremely 
well paid to perform - they would not have authorised the expenditure of +/-E50 million 
of taxpayers money on a system that was being widely rubbished by people who knew what 
they were talking about.

I attended the December 10th presentation, and I can state for the record that Deputy 
Billy Kelleher spent much of the presentation chatting and laughing to the person 
sitting beside him (Deputy Cregan?). As anybody who was there will confirm, their chat 
and laughter was so loud that it was difficult for those directly behind them in the 
public gallery to hear much of the presentations - not to mention the fact that the 
Deputies in question weren't paying a blind bit of attention to what was being said.

Notwithstanding the fact that they weren't paying attention, they later led the charge 
to endorse the spending of E50 million on December 18th.

I hope the voters in their respective constituencies are reminded of how they performed 
on this issue when the next election comes around!



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