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Irish Commission on Electronic Voting issues report

The Commission on Electronic Voting (CEV) has reported back. The report is only preliminary and is pretty equivocal.

Reading the main body of the report, you would think that the system can be rescued.

However, the expert comments in Appendix 2 make it clear just how severe the problems are going to be.

It is clear that this system has not been thought through. It was designed to reduce the paperwork burden for administration of elections, but if it the suggested measures are all implemented, it will actually increase the amount of complicated and mundane pen-pushing that will be required to carry out a guaranteed election.

See for example Review of Hardware, Software, Security and Testing , page 138 onwards for a list of extra precautions that would need to be taken.

The government will use this report to try to draw critics of the system into an argument about the details of how the system is implemented. But the basic argument should still be the same:

Electronic voting is a great idea, but there has to be a straightforward, obvious, easily understandable way to check that votes have been counted properly and everything is above-board.

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  1. I don’t know if electronic voting is actually worth it. The current system “ain’t broke”, and even if it is more expensive and slow, I’d rather pay a bit more and wait a bit more for a trustworthy democratic process.