[E-voting] RE: E-voting Digest, Vol 47, Issue 2

David GLAUDE (PourEVA) dglaude at poureva.be
Fri Mar 9 22:34:20 GMT 2007

In Belgium, there are less and less observers, at least where we have
electronic voting (I don't know for the paper side = 56% of the country).

But because of eVoting there are less and less observable step.
And even if something can be observe... it is not obvious what to look for.


Election goes in two step:
1) The voting
2) The counting

I must admit that there is not much more to observe during step 1. But
maybe the problem is that they do not know what to look for because the
procedure and the logic behind those procedure is far from beeing
understood by a typical partisan observer.

When one of us (PourEVA) became observer, and because above the fact
that he was well aware of the eVoting issue, he was also computer
literated... he found out many flaw and for most of them he could
estimate the added risk of not respecting each part of the procedure.

We went to court trying to explain how the fact that the procedure was
not respected made it impossible to proof anything about this election
and to trust the result... but the judges (even at the appeal level) did
not understand.

Those without IT background and without an idea about computer security
should be given instruction on what to look for and what to watch for
during the election. This seems to be what ORG want to do. Because in
paper election, it seems obvious what should be observed but not for

For step 2, there is once again almost nothing to observe because in the
Belgian case there is nothing to count. It is just about watching some
operator inserting floppies in a computer and printing partial result
every now and then.

A friend of mine that was party whiteness at that stage did attempt to
get closer, go behind the screen, talk with the operator to know more
about what was going on... and that friend made computer science studies
at the university so he could have understand... but it was a big NO NO.
He decided to stay quiet so as to monitor what could be monitored,
because it was rather clear that he had to sit and wait otherwise he
could have been kick out. I am not joking, I have another eye whiteness
that was taken out of the "counting" area by the police (I must admit
the guy is a bit paranoiac and could have well gone postal about the
fact that this was just a poor copy of democracy).

The only occasion where party representative were given many explanation
was in Liège last year. This is because the counting was giving
impossible result. The operator did try to explain as much as possible
what was the normal process, what was going wrong and what to expect
once the new floppies with the new software will be there. The only
reason they did explain is because there was a problem and they wanted
everybody to accept that those strange result were just a bug.

It was not a success because many of those whiteness went to court
trying to cancel the result of the election... without success.


Craig Burton wrote:
> It's is the mutual distrust among partisan operators and observers we
> can rely on.  This is why there are usually two or more people at each
> observable step,
> Best,
> Craig.

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