[E-voting] proposed press release -- ICTE PREDICT E-VOTING SYSTEM WILL NEVER BE USED

Margaret McGaley mmcgaley at cs.nuim.ie
Fri Jul 7 16:22:44 IST 2006

Is this too "in-your-face"?
Would everyone agree with the "broad concensus" statement below?
Dermot, do you mind that quote being attributed to you? (I think the 
original calculations were yours -- feel free to reword it of course :) ).
Is it okay to refer to an article in a particular publication in a press 
release (for the number of voting booths in the paper system)? The 
academic in me wants to source all my figures :)
The last part should really be attributed to someone too.


Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting today predicted that the chosen 
e-voting system will never be used in Irish elections. Margaret McGaley 
of ICTE offered two main reasons for the prediction: "First, the 
cost/benefit analysis that must precede any plans to introduce the 
system is bound to show that further investment cannot be justified. 
Second, the CEV did not declare these machines ready for use, in effect 
they declared them ready for testing - after certain modifications have 
been made. Amongst the computer experts who are members of ICTE their is 
broad consensus that they would eventually fail those tests."

ICTE have estimated that the Department of the Environment would have to 
buy 7,000 more machines, after the necessary  modifications have been 
finalised and tested, to prevent long queues at polling stations. "The 
department effectively bought one machine per ballot box in the old 
system. But these machines are more analagous to the voting booth than 
to ballot boxes. People will need time to deliberate in front of the 
machines." said Ms McGaley.

Dermot Casey elaborated: "Even if you assume that voting patterns will 
be evenly distributed over the day, the best you can hope for is 3 and 
1/2 minutes per voter*. That is not what you would expect, though. There 
are normally bursts of activity in the morning, at lunchtime, and after 
work. Those are the times when people would be disenfranchised because 
they can't wait."

There are 14,000 voting booths in the paper system, and the state 
currently own 7,000 voting machines. Without any of the necessary 
modifications listed by the commission, the cost of using this system 
for Irish elections would start at 35,000,000.


* This calculation is based on the following assumptions:
No. of machines - 7,500
No. of voters     - 1.8 million (this is the figure from the 2002 
general election, rounded down)
        --> No. of voters per machine - 240
No. of minutes (14 hour day)  - 840
        --> average time per voter - 3.5 minutes

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