[E-voting] EDRI-gram article, first draft

Margaret McGaley mmcgaley at cs.nuim.ie
Thu Jul 6 16:27:55 IST 2006


David Glaude has been pushing me, for as long as I can remember, to 
contribute to the EDRI-gram newsletter. I've put together a first draft 
of an article about the commission's report. Please comment.

Margaret


On Tuesday the 4th of July the Commission on Electronic Voting (CEV) 
released
its second report on the secrecy and accuracy of the e-voting system 
purchased
by the Irish Government.

The summary remarks at the beginning of the 200 page report say:
    "The Commission concludes that it can recommend the voting and counting
     equipment of the chosen system for use at elections in Ireland, 
subject
     to further work it has also recommended, but that it is unable to
     recommend the election management software for such use."

The "further work" referred to appears from the phrasing of the rest of the
introduction to be relatively minor, but a detailed reading of the report
reveals the extent of the changes required.

In order to comply with the "further work" that is a condition of the
commission's recommendation of this system, the following changes (among
others) will have to be made:

1) add a voter verified audit trail
2) replace the election management software (which prepares election data,
     reads votes from "ballot modules", and calculates results) with a 
version
     that is developed to mission critical standards
3) modify the embedded software within the voting machines to bring it up to
     mission critical standard
4) make certain modifications to the machines themselves
5) test all components to mission critical standard
6) modify the specification for the PC that is to be used for vote managment
7) test the system as a whole (including end-to-end testing) to mission
     critical standard
8) rectify the security vulnerabilities identified in the way data is
     transferred within the system

The minister responsible has indicated that he intends to continue with the
introduction of this system. ICTE are pushing for a comprehensive 
cost/benefit
analysis be to carried out before any decision to continue is made. The 
costs
in terms of money and time will be considerable, and they need to be 
calculated
accurately before they can be compared to the supposed benefits.






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