E-voting in France – after the first round of presidential elections

By EDRi · April 25, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The first round of the presidential elections in France, where e-voting
systems have been used in 82 localities as a pilot test, showed many queues,
some equipement shutdowns and dropouts of some towns (Amiens, St Malo, Le
Perreux, Ifs). Some political parties have called the e-voting a
“catastrophe”, demanding the withdrawal of electronic voting machines for
the second round of the presidential election .

However, the main two points of the e-voting criticism, as explained by
Pierre Muller from Ordinateurs-de-vote.org, are the loss of control by the
citizens with the risk of major untraceable fraud and the humiliation
for a great number of electors. The latter is explained by the fact that at
least 5-10% of the electors are not at ease with the electronic voting
system, according to some e-voting satisfaction polls. These citizens could
be publicly humiliated by their difficulties in voting or the number of the
citizens not coming to vote could actually grow .

On the verge of elections, the town halls of Voreppe, Ifs and Wissous have
publicly announced that the new i-Votronic voting equipment that they had
acquired has been replaced with “an older version”, as the new model had not
yet received approval. The town hall of Issy-les-Moulineaux, having
previously bragged its voting would be 100% electronic, has had to do the
same thing, only tried to be discrete in this matter.

In some localities including Issy-les-Moulineaux the electors have asked for
a moratorium on the usage of the voting machines and have indicated they
would make appeals regarding the request of tenders and decisions of the
municipalities. A complaint was sent to the State Council by the opponants
to electronic voting of Issy-les-Moulineaux which has acknowledged the
receipt but announced the action would be not judged right away. According
to the claimants, the State Council should give its advice within 15 days.

According to Nicolas Barcet of Internet site betapolitique.fr, as well as
Laurent Pieuchot, municipal councillor in Issy-les-Moulineaux, the voting
computers of Issy do not comply with the requirements of the Ministry of
Domestic Affairs using more than two keys as agreed upon.

Amiens town hall also announced that it had to give up the electronic voting
system and that the presidential elections would take place in the
traditional manner. The declaration of the town hall was that: “Having in
view the reluctance expressed by many people against this new voting system,
Gilles de Robien (the Mayor) has decided that this will be done only

Opposing to the electronic voting system can be risky. Two citizens of
Courdimanche in Val-d’Oise, have been condemned to the payment of 800 euros
legal charges by the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise that rejected
their action against the voting machines. Lucile Schmid, regional councillor
in Hauts de Seine, and Laurent Pieuchot, municipal councillor in Issy les
Moulineaux, were condemned by the High Court of Paris to stop the
distribution of their brochure “Ne laissons pas la place aux machine, votons
massivement” (Let’s not give in to machines, let’s all vote) which was
stating that there were security problems related to the voting equipment.
The two electors will make appeal.

The site Ordinateurs-de-vote.org has launched a petition for the
preservation of the paper voting which, by 25 April 2007, had already
gathered more than 80 000 signatures.

The site also draws the attention on the fact that electronic voting has
already shown opposition in some countries in Europe and even the USA. In
Belgium, the opposition went up to proposing a law for the interdiction of
electronic voting.

According to a study carried out by Paul Verlaine – Metz University, the
voting equipment also “create huge accessibility problems to the sight
impaired being a true discrimination source for them”. The study also
estimates that, with these machines, 25% of the electors run the risk of
mistaken the candidate or of not finalising their vote.

Petition for the preservation of the paper voting (only in French)

Voting machines a ‘catastrophe’–French parties(23.04.2007)

First presidential election tour : the main point is somewhere else (only in
French, 22.04.2007)

The town hall of Amiens steps back from the electronic voting (only in
French, 20.04.2007)

Judicial pressures on voting machines (only in French, 21.04.2007)

The voting machines of Issy-les-Moulineaux have been discretely replaced
(only in French, 18.04.2007)

Voting machines: confusion governs (only in French, 20.04.2007)