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

Margaret McGaley mmcgaley at cs.nuim.ie
Fri Jul 7 17:52:36 IST 2006

Again, Dermot I've attributed a quote to you, is it okay?

Should we send it out before the weekend? I'll be leaving in an hour and I won't be back until Sunday night so I might need to ask someone else to send it.


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 will show that further investment cannot be justified. Second,
the CEV did not declare these machines ready for use, they declared them
ready for testing - after extensive modifications have been made."

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 both voting booths and ballot boxes. 
People will need time to deliberate in front of the machines." said Ms 

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*. In reality people vote in bursts; early in the
morning, at lunchtime, and after work. Those are the times when people
would be disenfranchised."

Mr Casey concluded: "There are 14,000 voting booths in the paper system, 
and the state currently owns 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. Add to that the 
cost of modifying the machines we already have (the last modification 
sought by the department cost €2,500 per machine), the cost of replacing 
the election managment software, not to mention the other modifications 
laid out by the CEV, and the base estimate for future investment in this 
system is reaching €50,000,000. Do we really want to double our losses 
for the sake of this system?"


[Note for editors]

* 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

Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-voting is an independent group of over one hundred concerned Citizens, IT & Security Practitioners, and Legal Professionals calling for the introduction of a Voter Verified Audit Trail with any E-voting system used in Ireland.

ICTE Website:

Archive of ICTE Press Releases:

contact (available for interview): Margaret McGaley
email: mmcgaley at cs.nuim.ie
phone: 087 755 4023

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