Irish Labour Party wants to stop e-voting
The Irish Labour Party is urging suspension of e-voting until major flaws
are fixed. Ireland is planning to completely changeover to electronic
voting in June 2004, for both local and European elections.
According to a report commissioned by the party the major defects are:
– An integrated end-to-end test of the entire system has not yet been
conducted, only a partial test;
– The source code is not available, but code reviews indicate that certain
formal methods have not been used to prove the accuracy of the software;
– It is possible to load the Microsoft Access database on the
vote-counting computer with pre-prepared data. In addition vote
information is transferred between PCs at the Count Centre on floppy
discs. It would not be difficult to exchange discs.
– Unauthorised persons could produce an alternative version of the NEDAP
voting machine software and/or the voting system biased in favour of a
particular party or candidate.
Besides organising an end-to-end test and using formal mathematical
methods to insure the reliability of the system, Labour demands the
introduction of a Voter Verifiable Audit Trail (VVAT). That means creating
a parallel paper record of votes cast which could be stored and checked in
the event of a dispute over an election outcome.
The Belgian e-voting expert David Glaude reports an incident with e-voting
in Belgium. Not widely published it took place on 18 May 2003, in the
municipality of Schaerbeek. The total number of preferential votes cast on
a specific candidate was higher than the total number of votes for his
list. A series of tests was conducted on the computer of the president of
the voting committee, but the error could not be reproduced. The
difference in votes was exactly 4.096, leading the research-team to the
conclusion that the error was probably due to a spontaneous inversion of a
binary position in the read-write memory of the PC.
The Belgian e-voting system is fairly complex, with a blank magnetic card
that every voter has to insert into a voting machine. After voting, the
card must be entered into a ballot-box. Attached to the ballot-box is a
computer with a floppy-drive. The voting-results are written on a
Press release Irish Labour party (03.11.2003)
Electronic voting in Ireland: a threat to democracy? (November 2003)
Website David Glaude (in French)