[E-voting] (draft) ICTE REITERATE DEMAND FOR INDEPENDENT
joe.mccarthy at arkaon.com
Thu Oct 26 08:44:14 IST 2006
The CEV made extensive reference to its limited terms of reference. The
following extracts show that they never examined the chosen system for
fitness for purpose.
Verbatim extracts from the CEV 2nd Report
Limitations of the CEV's work.
The Commission has not been specifically asked to test, prove or
conclusively verify the chosen system, but rather, in the context of
reporting on its secrecy and accuracy, it may review the tests already
carried out and carry out its own further tests.
The Commission has had no involvement in the decision to adopt e-voting
in Ireland or the steps by which this decision has been implemented to
date. These events largely preceded the Commission's establishment in
March, 2004 and the Commission has not been asked to consider them
(although the requirements and specifications for the system have been
considered as part of the Commission's remit).
It is important to re-emphasise that the tests carried out by the
Commission were not intended to prove or demonstrate the fitness for use
of the chosen system (although some of the tests carried out would be
appropriate for this purpose).
There are undoubtedly many performance-related and other criteria on
which the chosen electronic system and the existing paper system might
be compared. However, the Commission is required by its terms of
reference to have regard to only those criteria which relate to secrecy
As with the comparative assessment, the risk assessment was confined, in
accordance with the Commission's terms of reference, to considering only
those risks that related to the secrecy and accuracy of either system.
Furthermore, since this comparative assessment relates only to
attributes concerning secrecy or accuracy, in accordance with the
Commission's terms of reference, it does not include the wider range of
attributes and risks which, if included with appropriate weighting,
might yield a different result.
The potential for the achievement of economies in terms of cost and
flexibility is thus clearly present to some degree in the chosen system
but is highly dependent on the timing of its first use after it is
acquired and on the frequency of use during its actual lifespan
thereafter. However, the necessary evidence to support the Department's
projections in this regard has not been reviewed by the Commission as it
lies somewhat outside its terms of reference in regard to the secrecy
and accuracy of the chosen system.
Comment on public interest
Although recognising that such approaches [namely open testing] would
provide useful testing of the system and could also serve to meet the
significant public interest in the system recorded in the many
submissions received by the Commission in the context of its earlier
reports, it was decided that such a process lay somewhat beyond the
scope and timeframe of the Commission's immediate brief to consider the
secrecy, accuracy and testing of the chosen system.
Comments on public trust and confidence
Taking all of these factors into account it is clear that voter trust
in the existing paper system has long been firmly established. Although
public trust in electronic voting generally might well be enhanced by
the use of an alternative system incorporating a voter verifiable audit
trail, public trust in the chosen electronic system as currently
proposed remains to be established.
The Commission continues (Appendix 6B no 20): However the doubts raised
about the system which lead to the establishment of an independent
Commission, the conclusions of the Commission's interim and first
reports and the subsequent non-use of the system in 2004 have diminished
public confidence in the system to a level that will be extremely
difficult to overcome.
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