[E-voting] E-voting and Olympics (resend)

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Wed Oct 21 12:21:11 IST 2009

Interesting point.  I had no idea they were using electronic voting for 
the Olympic selection.


Michael McMahon wrote:
> (sigh. resending that last message, reformatted ..)
> Folks,
> There hasn't been much traffic on this list for a while. I thought I'd toss
> this one out there, to see what people think.
> I was listening to the radio last weekend and heard a fascinating
> interview with Pat Hickey, Ireland's member of the International Olympic
> Committee. One thing he mentioned which I have to say raised my
> eye-brows, was the voting procedure for selecting the host city
> for the 2016 Olympics. He didn't provide much detail,
> but he did say it was an electronic voting system, and interestingly
> the vote is a secret ballot, where the voters (IOC members) are expected
> to vote on a personal basis (ie. not representing anyone) and they are
> expected to keep their vote secret.
> When you consider the enormous amounts of money and prestige
> at stake, it strikes me this type of system could be very prone to 
> cheating,
> by whoever controls or has some influence over the voting system.
> You'd have to wonder also why bother with e-voting?
> The selection system is quite straightforward where multiple
> rounds are held. The city receiving the fewest votes in each round
> is eliminated, and the voting continues until one city is left.
> Paper ballot voting would obviously be more transparent,
> and beyond reproach, if the votes were cast and counted, if not in public,
> at least in the presence of the voters. As we all know, any unverifiable
> (and this appears to be an unverifiable) e-voting system can be rigged
> to produce any result that the owners of the system choose.
> Even if the IOC executive aren't rigging the selection, then how
> can they be sure that someone else
> (such as the supplier of their voting system) isn't?
> Historically, the Olympics selection process has been prone
> to corruption. Most recently, the selection of Salt Lake City for the
> 2002 Winter games was mired in a bribery scandal.
> Granted, the process has been cleaned up to reduce the potential
> for bribery, but it seems extraordinary to me that candidate cities
> would make the huge investment (typically $40 million) only to see the
> selection being made by such an opaque and potentially dodgy system.
> Regards,
> Michael.
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