[E-voting] First draft press release

Fergal Daly fergal at esatclear.ie
Wed Jul 5 15:58:48 IST 2006

Something like

Our call for VVAT is vindicated by the commision's report. They say of
the current system that "the voter has no way of verifying that what
appears on the display is what is actually recorded" with the result
that it is "not subject to any meaningful independent audit of its
vote recording function" (section C.10). After many bad experiences
without it, the many states in the US have now enacted laws mandating
VVAT. We should learn from their mistakes rather than repeating them.


On 05/07/06, Stan Nangle <stan at voyager.ie> wrote:
> On Wed, 05 Jul 2006 15:32:41 +0100, Margaret McGaley wrote
> > Requirement 24 (part 9, page 203) says:
> > "The feasibility of implementing enhanced levels of audit within the
> > hardware of the chosen
> > system should be explored, including by means of the printer already
> > present in the voting
> > machine or by the further adaptation of the voting machine."
> >
> > Which is closer than I ever expected them to get to requiring VVAT.
> In section 5, where they do a comparison with the normal voting, they say the following
> about VVAT.
> Stan:
> C.10: Audit: Vote Recording
> The vote recording process is audited under the paper voting system in the sense that
> the voter can physically inspect the ballot paper that will actually be counted by
> election officials before depositing it in the ballot box. Election observers at the
> count station then physically observe the
> emptying of ballot boxes; these are opened by election officials facing towards the
> observers, to show they are fully empty so that all recorded votes cast are seen to be
> counted.
> Under the chosen system, the voter sees a display on the voting machine showing the
> preferences that have been registered, and can check that these preferences correspond
> to the buttons pressed.
> However, the voter has no way of verifying that what appears on the display is what is
> actually recorded electronically on the ballot module within the voting machine,
> transmitted to the count centre, loaded onto the count computers, and actually counted
> in the correct manner. This is because what is counted, the electronic vote, cannot
> physically be observed.
> Although it is possible to audit the vote counting process of the chosen system by re-
> counting the same set of votes that were included in the original count (see below),
> this provides no assurances with regard to the vote recording process that has gone
> before. In response to this problem, laws have been enacted in the United States, where
> electronic voting is becoming increasingly widespread, requiring some form of paper
> audit trail to be implemented by electoral authorities who use electronic voting
> systems. This involves using voting machines that generate a printed version of the
> ballot. Where a voter verifiable paper audit trail is required, this paper ballot is
> typically kept behind a screen so that the voter cannot touch it. The voter must review
> the paper version and approve it as part of the act of casting a vote before it is
> deposited by the voting machine in a traditional ballot box at the same time as it
> records the vote electronically.
> Similarly, in other countries that have adopted electronic voting, the vote is recorded
> on paper by the voter themselves in the first instance but in a format that is "machine-
> readable" and can subsequently be scanned or
> otherwise read in by a machine, recorded electronically and thus incorporated in an
> electronic count.
> In either case, the paper ballots are retained by election officials, with the
> consequence that an election can be fully audited with reference to manual vote records
> if required, using printed ballots that voters have seen and approved as reflecting
> their intentions. While the paper ballots may not necessarily require to be referred to
> in this way in every case, such a requirement may arise from a contested result, or it
> may be a sample count that is audited as part of routine checks to ensure the
> system is working accurately.
> Since the chosen electronic system does not have this facility, and while it does
> provide features to facilitate a degree of independent audit in its vote counting
> function, together with features that facilitate audit at the administrative level and
> confirmation of statutory compliance, it is not subject to any meaningful independent
> audit of its vote recording function. Thus the paper system is superior in this respect.
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