[E-voting] Joe on RTE1 with John Bowman

Adrian Colley aecolley at gmail.com
Sat May 26 13:23:31 IST 2007

(transcript of the brief interview, except for the first 20 seconds or so)

Joe: [...] democratic machinery which has always been open and public
and accountable in this country was going to disappear inside a
computer, and that meant that the public could no longer see how their
votes were being counted, and they couldn't trust how they were being
counted.  So that's really what was wrong with them.

John: And how did you break through to establish that?

Joe: Well, what happened originally: there were a small number of
people who were concerned about it -- computer people mostly, and
tally people (I'm a tallyman for the last 20 years) -- and I asked a
simple question of the Department: what was the specification for the
machinery, and what were the test results?  And actually it turned out
that they had neither a specification nor tests.  They'd bought a pig
in a poke, essentially.  And when we went to look at what was inside
the machines, we found it was untested, and indeed the pilots that
were run in 2002 failed, though not a lot of people knew that, because
they didn't pay attention to the detail.  So there was a love of
machinery as if it was going to improve matters.  Of course, it would
speed up the count (arguably), but it would destroy the openness and
the spectacle of the public count which we're enjoying for the last
couple of days.

John: So, marks out of 100 for those machines that we purchased?

Joe: Oh, zero.

John: Zero?

Joe: Yes, they're useless.

John: You're not saying the results were wrong in those three constituencies?

Joe: Arguably, they were; because an unusual thing happened when the
first two attempts at counting in Dublin North and Dublin West took
place.  The machines froze.  So the machines were restarted and the
votes were mixed twice, which was contrary to the law.  Now it might
have had no effect, depending on surplus transfers...

John: The results were plausible, yes?

Joe: The results were plausible but the results were uncheckable.  And
the results were disastrously announced as you know.  They were
announced in a hurry.

John: OK, we might come back to some of this.  But that is Joe
McCarthy, who questioned and challenged through Freedom Of Information
the computers as used on the last occasion.

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