Mediatic importance of fast result and result consolidation... was: Re: [E-voting] experience with VVAT

David GLAUDE dglaude at
Fri Mar 31 21:51:17 IST 2006

I was told that in Belgium eVoting was mostly introduced by the interior
ministry in order to regain the mediatic priviledge of revealing the result.

Indeed, in the early day of voting, there was an electoral night at the
interior ministry and everybody including the television was coming
there to get the result.

Then TV station started to use the services of IBM to do statistical
estimation of the result. It was then no use for TV station to go to the
 ministry of interior to get the result as they had better estimation
than the real result...

Then the ministry wanted to have the TV primer back and asked IBM to
also work for them.

All of that was way before eVoting, it was all about getting the
unofficial result fast. Including changing the number of poll worker,
having two separate team, one for the vote and one for the counting, ...

Then came the holy graal solution of eVoting and the interior jumped on it.

Now we have electronic transmission of the result partially using a
privately (a bank) owned network.

In the past, TV, political party and other observer where collecting the
data of each individual counting burreau. Those were reporting the local
information to their respective headquarter for computing the trend and

Nowdays, political party observer are told NOT to call back with the
result as everyone interested is connected to a "secure" network setup
by the ministry of interior. They decide what information to release
when and everyone involved get the result at the same time.

This mean that the natural double check that the sum of local result is
right does not exist anymore.

Despite that delayed full disclosure (including on the official web site
 for public consumption, last election in Brussels region (100%
electronic), the looser was able to clame victory... until proven wrong.
That is the kind of politician that is likely to ask for the end of
eVoting. ;-)

Of course official result should be based on the "paper" report of each
local result... but it is not certain that the check is actually done.

Virtualisation [dematerialisation] is dangerous at every step of the
voting... in Belgium we have optionnal electronic register for the
voter. This mean clicking that you came rather than to write a V in
front of your name on the paper register. The only requirement is
redundancy and garantee to be able to print at the end!


PS: Does anybody remember the rounding error in Germany that made a
party look like it was above the 5% thresold until the error was found
and they lost all their representative.

Pierre Muller wrote:
> I heard so many stories about GEMS, and I never really understood. In
> France, main political parties collect results at the polling stations,
> and do themselves additions, in parallel with the main election officer
> (whose results are later checked by a commission).
> We don't really have to care about security of either electronic
> transmission of results, or transport of memory cards, since they have
> no legal value. We don't have to care about security of electronic
> additions. Only papers which poll workers sign (at the polling station,
> just after counting the votes) are used. (It is possible because we
> don't use STV).

More information about the E-voting mailing list