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Seeking The Source For Ireland's E-Voting System

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the secret-sauce dept.

Software 291

WeeBull writes "Michael Cunningham from p45.net tried to request 'the source code of the electronic voting system first used in Ireland's May 2002 general election, plus any supporting technical documentation supplied to the Department of Environment and Local Government including the functional specifications' under Ireland's Freedom of Information legislation. The result wasn't what he expected ..."

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I Think My Cat is Sick. How Should I Treat It? (-1, Offtopic)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034343)

So I came home from work the other day to discover my cat laying on
the floor. His breathing was very shallow and his eyes were very
glassy. When I approached him I noticed a belt tied around his arm and
both a syringe and a bent spoon laying beside him. Despite all his
promises to the contrary, my beloved Mittens has started shooting up
smack again!

Fortunately the paramedics showed up quickly and gave him some
naloxone which saved him. Unfortunately the problem of my cat being
addicted to heroin still remains. Last week he sold my stereo and this
weekend Mittens stole from my wallet to try for a
hit.

I love my cat and want to see him off this horrible drug.
Unfortunately he won't stop on his own! Mittens says he can quit
anytime he wants to and becomes combative when I force the issue. I'm
tired of seeing him throw his life away. He could've been a great
mouser, one of the best before he got hooked.

Can anyone recommend a way to get my cat off heroin? It would be much
appreciated.

Re:I Think My Cat is Sick. How Should I Treat It? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034354)

Nope, can't help you.

Re:I Think My Cat is Sick. How Should I Treat It? (-1)

Troll McClure (571760) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034375)

you could either check him into rehab (tell mittens its a health farm) and wait a few weeks until hes clean,
or take him on holiday to somewhere where he can't get any smack. this may be a bit harsh, but its the only way.
or, just lock him in a room until hes clean, yep, go cold turkey.
or, threaten him with being spayed. - that may work the best.

Re:I Think My Cat is Sick. How Should I Treat It? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034411)

Good trolling. Original and cute.

Frost pirst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034344)

see subject

DU HAST VERSAGT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034362)

DU HAST VERSAGT! (roughly: YOU FAILED IT!)

Re:DU HAST VERSAGT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034471)

"Du hast versagt es", surely?

Re:DU HAST VERSAGT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034481)

uhm no. how about you learn the language before you try to correct it

Re:DU HAST VERSAGT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034484)

"Du hast versagt" just means "You failed".

Re:DU HAST VERSAGT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034492)

no-one cares

DU HAST MISSERFOLG is the best translation i can think of though.

Re:DU HAST VERSAGT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034523)

"You have failure" -- that still doesn't mean "You failed it"

Expectations (5, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034346)

The result wasn't what he expected

You mean he got everything he asked for, overnight, with no questions asked?

Re:Expectations (4, Informative)

moonbender (547943) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034429)

I know you were kidding, but for the sake of the people who haven't read the article (yet) - I know I was annoyed the Slashdot article ends without actually saying what this is about.
What he expected was that a) the government would hand over the source code or b) the government would find some excuse (e.g. security through obscurity) to not reveal the source. Well, it turns out the government doesn't have the source code: "The source code is held by the Nedap/Powervote [sic] and is not available in the Department of the Environment and Local Government."

Re:Expectations (4, Insightful)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034537)

Why not, for the sake of simplicity, just take all the ballot-papers, ship them off to a company in the Netherlands, and they can phone us and tell us who won the election? Does anyone else see a problem with this method of vote-counting?

Given that there is a problem with such a system, how about shipping all of the votes off to a secret black box designed and built by a company in the Netherlands, which phones up a central computer and tells us who won the election?

There's a reason that votes are counted in public, and it's not just the entertainment value.

Re:Expectations (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034582)

Well, it turns out the government doesn't have the source code

When I read that, I was stunned at the sheer stupidity of that. They're laying themselves open to all sorts of charges for breach of process.

One good thing (since I'm an Australian citizen) I didn't know before, however is that the electoral commission in ACT has provided the source to their voting system. Quite unusually enlightened for Australia. Here in Western Australia, e-voting hasn't been implemented, so I never thought to look...

Re:Expectations (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034518)


Elegy For *BSD

I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

Re:Expectations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034573)

The result wasn't what he expected

You mean he got everything he asked for, overnight, with no questions asked?

Yes, but that wasn't the unexpected thing. The unexpected thing was that it was all written in GW-BASIC.

Now that's creepy. (4, Insightful)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034350)

They don't even have the source code to software they used to run their elections?

Doesn't that mean that IF there was any fraud during the elections, that it is now impossible to prove whether or not it had to do with the software? Since the government doesn't have the actual code, any code they get from the authors in the future cannot be proven to be the code used in the election...

What a mess.

Re:Now that's creepy. (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034363)

While it can't be proven all one would need to do is ask for the compile options, compile it with the same compiler and then compare the compiled version to the one they have from the election (assuming that they do have a copy, which they possibly do not considering that it appears they merely use the machines from this election software firm.) I believe that like encryption election code is one area where full public disclosure is absolutly necessary to assure that they system is operating as expected. The fact that the election commision in Ireland handed the auditing over to a private company is sure lunacy.

Even more problems... (3, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034408)

I can tell you that if I were told that I had to provide source code for a product to compare against a compiled version for legal reasons (such as this case, where election results can be compared) in an after-the-fact case where binaries were produced by a compiler compared to the original...

I'd have to quit my job immediately (probabally not tell my employer that I'm quitting either, just not show up to work), grab my family, max my credit cards/home equity loans, donate my household furnishings to charity (like Salvation Army), and move to a non-extraditable country in a real hurry.

Really. I can't even imagine the legal BS you'd have to go under if something like this came up after an election was contested by powerful interests. If something like this had happened in Florida during the last U.S. Presidential election, people would have gone to jail, even if they had been completely honest and just "doing their job".

The best possible outcome in something like this is that the developer would be made the sacrificial lamb in the following witch hunt, given a felony criminal record, and serving a year or two in jail.

Well, the best outcome would be that the government would admit that it screwed up, and the company that made the elecion equipment would back the software developer throughout the whole legal mess that would still mean a couple of years of being a legal assistant rather than a software developer.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I think with some of the past employers that I've had I would have been dumped immediately and the blame fixed straight on me. I've had to deal with lawyers as it is because of contract disputs, and I can't even imagine what it would be like in a public firestorm where this would really be an issue.

Re:Now that's creepy. (3, Funny)

aarondyck (415387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034371)

With any luck this will spur the government into trying to obtain the source code. Of course, we all know the truth: The government that bought the software will never again lose an election!

Re:Now that's creepy. (5, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034390)

Apparently there were several audits performed and I believe the source was available under NDA to the govt. Next time they will be entitled to distribute the source if they so desire.

this was the govt's response to a series of questions in the Dail

Security and integrity have been paramount in the design, testing and implementation of the electronic voting and counting system. Original tender submissions were assessed and the successful solution selected on the basis of, inter alia, functionality and product quality including hardware and software security and application of the count rules as in the case of a paper ballot. Detailed functional specifications, likewise, made extensive reference to security aspects of the system. The testing programme has been thorough and involved independent examination of the voting machine and voting machine software by a number of recognised international test institutes and private companies. The voting machine hardware and software has been tested by PTB, the National Institute for Science and Technology in Germany. Separate reports have been prepared by two test institutes in the Netherlands: TNO subjected the voting machine to a range of environmental tests and KEMA Quality BV tested the machine for compliance with international safety standards. An Irish company, PMI Software Ltd. carried out an architectural and code review of the system software. My Department also engaged the Electoral Reform Society in the UK, which has extensive experience of STV election counts, to test the software against its database of over 300 elections. The count software was, in addition, tested for functionality and accuracy both by my Department and a number of Dáil returning officers. Finally, in relation to vote counting, the system can produce, after the votes are mixed, vote tables to enable progress of the count to be monitored and also to trace a vote at any stage of the count. If necessary, following a High Court order in an election petition case, the system can also produce a ballot paper, with preferences, to allow a manual count to be carried out. At the general election and referendum pilots in 2002, the software was used under license from the supplier and at present, the source code is not available to the public. The software is currently being modified for use at the European and local elections in June 2004 and when this work has been completed and tested, I will give careful consideration to the making of the source code available. The Zerflow report, which was the subject of recent media reporting, was commissioned by my Department as an addition to the principal reports to which I have referred. The company was requested to carry out a security assessment of the procedures to be applied in the use of voting machines in polling stations to ensure that procedures proposed by the Department were adequate. The issues raised by the Zerflow report, which dealt mainly with possible threats to the external physical features of the voting machine, were assessed by my Department and by Nedap/Powervote - the machine manufacturers. The assessment by both was that the main scenario identified was implausible and that the likelihood of its occurrence without detection was extremely remote. I should emphasise that the version of the voting machine used in this country has more security features than the versions used in the Netherlands and Germany where the issues raised by Zerflow have not been identified in any risk assessments. In addition, the integrity of the Irish voting process is protected on polling day by a set of protocols operated by polling staff and the Gardai under the supervision of the returning officer. My Department will continue to keep these arrangements under review and will update advice provided to returning officers, as necessary, including advice in relation to the presence of audio, video or photographic recording devices which are not permitted in polling buildings. I also intend that further expert consideration will be given to external security issues in prospect of the use of electronic voting machines in 2004. In addition to the design and testing undertaken, the actual use of electronic voting and counting at real polls has provided a crucial assessment of the security and integrity of the system. Following its use in three constituencies at the May 2002 General Election and at the Nice referendum last October, the reaction of election staff and the public was overwhelmingly positive. In October 2002, the Government approved the use of the system throughout the country at the European and local elections in 2004 and work on this project is ongoing. The estimated cost of the voting system equipment for a countrywide rollout is 36 million plus VAT. Most of this expenditure will be recouped in the form of reduced election expenditure over the life of the voting machines. While all aspects of the system will be kept under ongoing review, I am satisfied that our electronic voting and counting system meets the key criteria of any electoral system in terms of ease of use, maintaining the secrecy of the ballot, accurately recording and counting votes and security.

In Belgium we have source code... so what? (5, Informative)

dglaude (673571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034477)

In Belgium some citizen had to fight in court to get the source code of the election program beeing published.

In 1991 nobody except private company had the code.
In 1999 official expert asked for the state to own the code and suggest publishing it.
In 2000 they published partial code and documentation with most important security part removed.
In May 2003 they published full code (but no doc) of new system (AES added).

Feel free to download analyse and report problem to us [wiki.ael.be]

We have no way to check if that code was really in use. Because they use the same floppy disk to boot the system and to save the result, we have no way to make sure what was on the floppy at the begining of the election day. This is explained here [wiki.ael.be] but only in french.

But having the code is not enough... actually Richard Stallman had something to say [wiki.ael.be] about Free Software not being enough.

Now if you are Belgian and unhappy about the status of our election system, you can join or contact PourEVA [poureva.be] .

I personally believe that if we want to reduce the repetitive task of counting the ballot, we could use optical scanning (and make test manual recount). But we should never put a computer between our vote and the expression of our vote. Paper and Pen rules.

The Article (-1, Redundant)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034351)

Short version: They don't have the source code.

Long Version (The Site is shakey already):

You know the electronic voting system that people have been going on about in Ireland for the past year? We were thinking... let's do the bleedin' obvious: instead of talking in the abstract, let's get a copy of its source code and give it a good gander.

So last month we put in a Freedom of Information request to the Department of the Environment and Local Government, which is responsible for the new system.

We requested "the source code of the electronic voting system first used in Ireland's May 2002 general election, plus any supporting technical documentation supplied to the Department of Environment and Local Government including the functional specifications".

We made the request in good faith, so that the 200,000 lines of code could undergo public scrutiny - particularly by experts such as programmers in business and academia. We need this access in order to examine the internal workings of the system properly, to see that (a) it is as secure as possible, (b) it produces fair and accurate election results, and (c) it does so in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We don't want to see just what's on the surface, at the interface: we want to see exactly what's happening under the bonnet as it were.

Now we expected one of two things: either they'd hand over the source code, or they'd come up with some incredibly lame excuse, along the lines that we weren't the Right Kind Of People to be looking at it.

But what we didn't expect was for the Department to admit that... it doesn't have the code!!!

It turned down our request for the source code, saying "the record does not exist in the Department". In a letter dated 13th January, 2003, Assistant Principal Michael Murphy of the Department's Franchise Section stated that: "The source code is held by the Nedap/Powervote [sic] and is not available in the Department of the Environment and Local Government."

Nedap/Powervote's voting machines have also been used in the Netherlands, and in Cologne and Dusseldorf in Germany. In an information paper the Department says that "Ireland's use of the software represents the first time the software has been adopted by a country for all election types (comprising local, general, Presidential and European elections and referenda)."

The Department commissioned PMI Software to evaluate the system's components and "the performance of the database in relation to election requirements". [An aside: PMI is a subsidiary of Project Management Group, "the largest Irish-owned engineering and technical services company". In July 2001, the Office of Public Works engaged PMG to assist in the implementation of the electrical engineering for the project of electronic voting in the Dail.]

Perhaps the PMI/PMG consultants saw the source code (OK, let's find out). But governments in other jurisdictions have gone much, much further, and made the source code for their voting systems open and readily accessible to all.

Take the Australian Capital Territory election commission in Canberra. It has put the full source code of its electronic voting system on a publicly accessible website, in a neatly zipped 127k file.

Some might argue that putting the source code into the public domain isn't in the public interest, that it might compromise the system's security. We don't think so: the general feeling within the software industry would probably be that public peer review, by a wide range of programmers, would do the very opposite, making the code far more robust, secure and efficient.

But above all it's about an issue of trust, and trust works both ways.

If the new electronic system is to be fully accepted by the electorate, the system's internal workings should be open and available to the electorate and civil society.

In particular it should earn the trust of our programming community - the very same sector earmarked by successive governments as a key part of our economy and society. The government in turn should put its trust in that community, not just in a bunch of private consultants or some Dutch/UK company.

Instead, it finds nothing strange in allowing the source code to be held abroad, and in not bothering to keep a copy for itself after spending so much of our money getting it written.

MOD THIS WHORE/TROLL DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034366)

The site is not shaky. Plus he just posted about his cat being addicted to heroin.

Re:MOD THIS WHORE/TROLL DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034377)

He's smarter than you. Deal with it, Slashboy.

Re:MOD THIS WHORE/TROLL DOWN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034498)

Feline heroin addictions are quite a serious problem in today's world, and if you're not part of the solution then you're part of that problem.

vocabularize.rb (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034352)

#!/usr/bin/ruby -w

# Improves your choice of words

require 'net/http'

subrate = 50 # What % of eligible words to look up in the thesaurus?
skiplist = %w(slashdot presidium) # Words that won't be looked up ever
rx = Regexp.new("<b>Synonyms:</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;</td><td>( .*?)</td></tr>")

$stdin.readlines.to_s.split.ea ch do |word| # fix "each"
suf = ""
if word =~ /(\w+)(\W+\w*)/
word = $1
suf = $2
end
if (rand(100) <= subrate) &&
(!skiplist.include?(word.downcase)) &&
(word =~ /[A-Za-z]{4,}/)
syns = nil
page = Net::HTTP.get("thesaurus.reference.com", "/search?q=#{word}")
if rx.match(page)
syns = $1.split(", ")
end
print "#{syns ? syns[rand syns.length] : word}#{suf} "
else
print "#{word}#{suf} "
end
end

Re:vocabularize.rb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034389)

What the hell do you mean by "the saurus"? Is Jurassic Park IV coming out or what?

full text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034356)

Elections I: Source in the open

You know the electronic voting system that people have been going on about in Ireland for the past year? We were thinking... let's do the bleedin' obvious: instead of talking in the abstract, let's get a copy of its source code and give it a good gander.

So last month we put in a Freedom of Information request to the Department of the Environment and Local Government, which is responsible for the new system.

We requested "the source code of the electronic voting system first used in Ireland's May 2002 general election, plus any supporting technical documentation supplied to the Department of Environment and Local Government including the functional specifications".

We made the request in good faith, so that the 200,000 lines of code could undergo public scrutiny - particularly by experts such as programmers in business and academia. We need this access in order to examine the internal workings of the system properly, to see that (a) it is as secure as possible, (b) it produces fair and accurate election results, and (c) it does so in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We don't want to see just what's on the surface, at the interface: we want to see exactly what's happening under the bonnet as it were.

Now we expected one of two things: either they'd hand over the source code, or they'd come up with some incredibly lame excuse, along the lines that we weren't the Right Kind Of People to be looking at it.

But what we didn't expect was for the Department to admit that... it doesn't have the code!!!

It turned down our request for the source code, saying "the record does not exist in the Department". In a letter dated 13th January, 2003, Assistant Principal Michael Murphy of the Department's Franchise Section stated that: "The source code is held by the Nedap/Powervote [sic] and is not available in the Department of the Environment and Local Government."

Nedap/Powervote's voting machines have also been used in the Netherlands, and in Cologne and Dusseldorf in Germany. In an information paper the Department says that "Ireland's use of the software represents the first time the software has been adopted by a country for all election types (comprising local, general, Presidential and European elections and referenda)."

The Department commissioned PMI Software to evaluate the system's components and "the performance of the database in relation to election requirements". [An aside: PMI is a subsidiary of Project Management Group, "the largest Irish-owned engineering and technical services company". In July 2001, the Office of Public Works engaged PMG to assist in the implementation of the electrical engineering for the project of electronic voting in the Dail.]

Perhaps the PMI/PMG consultants saw the source code (OK, let's find out). But governments in other jurisdictions have gone much, much further, and made the source code for their voting systems open and readily accessible to all.

Take the Australian Capital Territory election commission in Canberra. It has put the full source code of its electronic voting system on a publicly accessible website, in a neatly zipped 127k file.

Some might argue that putting the source code into the public domain isn't in the public interest, that it might compromise the system's security. We don't think so: the general feeling within the software industry would probably be that public peer review, by a wide range of programmers, would do the very opposite, making the code far more robust, secure and efficient.

But above all it's about an issue of trust, and trust works both ways.

If the new electronic system is to be fully accepted by the electorate, the system's internal workings should be open and available to the electorate and civil society.

In particular it should earn the trust of our programming community - the very same sector earmarked by successive governments as a key part of our economy and society. The government in turn should put its trust in that community, not just in a bunch of private consultants or some Dutch/UK company.

Instead, it finds nothing strange in allowing the source code to be held abroad, and in not bothering to keep a copy for itself after spending so much of our money getting it written.

Voting Machines in America (4, Interesting)

westyvw (653833) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034358)

Americans have too been scammed by voting machines owned by corporations. Go figure.

http://www.americanfreepress.net/11_10_02/Secret _G roup_Manipulates/secret_group_manipulates.html

http://www.talion.com/election-machines.html

http://pub103.ezboard.com/fsoldiervoicefrm4.show Me ssage?topicID=7.topic

Re:Voting Machines in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034397)

Americans have too been scammed by voting machines owned by corporations. Go figure.

Hmm, I remember 2000, when the US showed to the world that it could easily make a mess of an election without voting machines ...

Seriously though: the same Nedap voting machines are widely used in NL. There is ofcourse no legal obligation for the voting comittees to have the source code, so
you would probably end up with the same answer over here.

Re:Voting Machines in America (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034433)

Bev Harris' site http://www.blackboxvoting.com/ has a whole lot of info on this. She's done some excellent work tracking the various aspects and dangers of closed source voting machines and their partisan private manufacturers.

Re:Voting Machines in America (clickable html) (4, Informative)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034437)

Americans have too been scammed by voting machines owned by corporations. Go figure.

Secret Group Manipulates Vote Machines [americanfreepress.net] - The widespread use of electronic voting machines has severely undermined the integrity of elections in the United States. Behind the companies that make the voting machines is a small and secretive group of men, including a well-known U.S. senator.

Voting machine companies: Ownership disclosure, "private" vote-counting codes, potential for manipulation [talion.com] - This is an article about just three things: disclosure, conflict of interest and potential for manipulation. It is not a conspiracy theory or a political point of view. I think you'll agree with me: We don't care who wins the election, as long as it's who was VOTED FOR.

Senator Hagel campaign treasurer owns voting machine co. [ezboard.com] - Election Systems & Software, the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election(4)-- and the recent huge flub in Dallas, where early voting had to be shut down when machines kept registering Democratic votes as Republican (See the 31 mistakes link, top of page) and the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America--is a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it.

Re:Voting Machines in America (clickable html) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034448)

I think you'll agree with me: We don't care who wins the election, as long as it's who was VOTED FOR.
That's just wrong. I care very much who wins the election. The Democratic party in America has some very screwed positions on issues that just don't mix well with a free society, and I vote to do my part to make sure that none of those fascist whackos get elected.

Re:Voting Machines in America (clickable html) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034528)

the recent huge flub in Dallas, where early voting had to be shut down when machines kept registering Democratic votes as Republican

Your bias is revealed when you call the Republican votes a "flub", as if putting Republicans in office "botched" or "bungled" the election.

N.B. the media never report mechanical errors favoring a Democrat. Either it defies all mathematical odds (which is unlikely by definition), or the so-called-liberal media are (guess what) ... liberal, highly biased, and still sore about losing in 2000 (read the Constitution already). It would be pathetic if these lies weren't so insidious.

MOD PARENT UP!! If you're for free speech.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034562)

The liberal media has been heavily documented as any google [google.com] search will show. Also the democrats are the biggest cheats since Kennedy and before, and of course Clinton.

Re:Voting Machines in America (clickable html) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034570)

  • Your bias is revealed when you call the Republican votes a "flub"
Not to mention his impugning "corporations". Jackass (the grandparent, not the parent ;) )

Re:Voting Machines in America (clickable html) (-1, Flamebait)

Lysol (11150) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034593)

Well the reason you never hear about votes favoring dems is because they are not bent on trying to control every aspect of political life in order to bring the bible to law.

There's enough documented evidence throughout history that shows how vicious the right is and how they'll stop at nothing to impose their morality on everyone else.

You're a fool if you think the 2000 vote was legal and constitutional. In fact, the constitution has little relevance in the u.s. today. It only stands in the way of the right wing to bring down separation of church and state. Your idea of democracy is not democracy at all, it's just theocracy in disguise. The right controls the oval office, the senate, the house and most of the highest court appointments - so much for checks and balances. But hey, we can salute the flag, sing songs together in govt. office, and gee wiz, aren't those little muslim kids cute when they pray in school?

As far as the liberal media, two things.
1. If you report anything not favoring lies and coverup, it's liberal.
2. Every popular tv and radio show (ala ross & tucker) have these neanderthal's foaming at the mouth with hate and disgust for anyone who is not a rich, white christian and doesn't blindly wrap themselves in the flag and say 'ok'.

Yah, you guys have done a great job fucking everything up. Let's see, in about 25 years, going down the neocon road, we'll be on par with those countries in the middle east now that we continue to bash as not being 'freedom lovers'.

Wow.. this is unusual (5, Funny)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034364)

You mean a company or government actually bought a piece of software without the source code!

What kind of world are we living in?

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034383)

It is unusual for a large software purchase to not involve at least code escrow giving the purchaser some hope of salvaging their systems if the supplier goes out of business. This isn't a few copies of Office they are talking about. That's not the same as the code being open, of course; It sounds very irresponsible to me that they have implemented such an important (and undoubtedly expensive) system without securing access to the code somehow.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (4, Insightful)

TheToon (210229) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034395)

The voting system is the backbone of a democratic system. This is the number one indicator that a nation has taken the step forward and joined the democratic fold.

It needs to be auditable. It needs to be verifyable. To the full extent.

Look at the mess in Florida in the last US presidential elections. The system there worked as everything was on paper, so they just needed to go through all the ballot notes and re-count and re-evaluate them. After the extensive re-counts and press and public auditing of the result, it was found to be correct.

How can you do that audit if you don't know the system? And the only way to know a computer based system is to have all the information about it available, including source code.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (3, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034417)

Look at the mess in Florida in the last US presidential elections. The system there worked as everything was on paper, so they just needed to go through all the ballot notes and re-count and re-evaluate them. After the extensive re-counts and press and public auditing of the result, it was found to be correct.

Whether or not the result was 'correct' is still open to debate in many parts. But that aside I recall the recount as being a lot more involved than just a simple recounting of ballots. Have we all forgotten how we laughed at the description of pregnant and hanging chads (cracked me up anyway) and the counters trying to guess voter intention from dimples in the ballot papers. Very scientific and auditable system indeed.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034462)

Whether or not the result was 'correct' is still open to debate in many parts
Only in those parts where people get paid to disagree with whatever the Republican party says/does (California), those parts where it's more beneficial to debate about factual information from two and a half years ago than to think/discuss actual current issues (philosophy 101 classes), or those parts where anti-American propaganda is popular to show (Belgium, France, the UK).

For a while, it was popular to bitch about the election politically, even though the system worked exactly as it should have. The end result of all that bitching is that anyone with a lick of common sense now knows whose opinions to ignore/avoid when they're given.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (1)

TheToon (210229) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034541)

> recount as being a lot more involved than just a simple
> recounting of ballots

True. They had to evaluate the ballot itself. Was the punched hole outside one of the candidates. Did it have multiple holes. What was the intention etc... as you said :)

But still my point it that they had a paper trail. Messy as it was.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034431)

Are you sure about Florida?

My impression (partially garnered from Michael Moore's 'stupid white men', a biased source) is that the recounting was stopped. either by court-order or by Al Gore's request - can't remember which.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (2, Flamebait)

peterwilm (629084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034451)

After the extensive re-counts and press and public auditing of the result, it was found to be correct. You are wrong. The result was not found to be correct. If all ballots would have been recounted in the whole state of Florida (which even Gore did not demand), Gore might have won. This was found by a complete manual recount of all Florida ballots by a consortium of major newspapers http://vander.hashish.com/articles/election2000/no rcnw.html (Newsweek article) . Project site is here: http://www.norc.org/fl/ The US 2000 Presidential Election is the one and only master example of what can go wrong if you use flawed voting technology. There is probably a non-elected man sitting as president in the white house right now -- because of flawed voting technology. It is only for political reasons why this is not shaking the foundations of the political system of the United States. Would this election desaster have happened in Europe the elected government would be in really serious trouble.

Re:Wow.. this is unusual (1)

TheToon (210229) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034547)

To quote from your link:
--------
To the chagrin of Democratic partisans, the consortium proclaimed Bush still would have won the apparently limited statewide recount underway last December 9 even if the U.S. Supreme Court had not swooped in and stopped it. But if all disputed ballots had been manually counted?something, ironically, neither side had even asked for?Al Gore could have eked out a narrow victory.
--------

So we're both right. :)

But as I've said in another post: it is only the paper trail the enabled this audit in the first place. OTOH, without tha ballot notes the whole mess would probably not have surfaced.

Paper and Pencil (4, Interesting)

jeti (105266) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034373)

Over in Germany, we use some of the least advanced voting machinery
imagineable. Paper and pencil. Votes are counted by hand, with peer
review, faxed in and published in detail in the newspapers.

So far we didn't have any real problems with fraud, ambiguous votes or
anything like that. And the results are usually in by the evening or the next
day.We have like 70 million inhabitants and I don't see a reason why this
shouldn't scale up.

So is there any real reason to replace that with a system that is not
transparent and where you have to blindly trust some tech companies?

Re:Paper and Pencil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034387)

I'll bet if there is an election with results as close as those for the last US presidential election in Florida, shortcomings in the system would become apparent. It is probably not as half-ass as Florida was, but still there are always ways things get mixed up. Just the business about faxing invites lots of speculation about potential fraud.

Re:Paper and Pencil (1)

peterwilm (629084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034458)

No.
You cannot recount the Florida ballots wih the same result twice, because some chad will fall of the ballots during the process.
The paper and pencil-method is indefinately recountable.
Fax machines are only used to transmit the results for the intermediate result on the same evening. The official end result is additionally checked. Every step of the whole process is completely transparend to every citizen.

Re:Paper and Pencil (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034393)

How did you manage to vote in Hitler, is it a process similar to how we got Bush up?

no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034423)

No it isn't similar...Hitler actualy won the popular vote.

Re:no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034490)

Damn, and me without moderator points.

Re:no (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034534)

Troll.

this gets claimed regularly here (Slashdot), it is not true.

I just tried to put the results up here, but the Slashdot Lameness Filter killed every attempt, tables are not accepted and an unordered list contained too many spaces.

In the critical election, the Nazis got 32.2 %, down from 37.8 % (a loss of around 2 Million votes). Another extreme right party rose from 6.1 % to 8.6 %. Forget the .sig on this one, those facts are accurate.

Re:Paper and Pencil (2, Informative)

peterwilm (629084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034486)

The NSDAP got 30 per cent or so in the last Reichstags election. Unfortunately there wasn't any candidate left to be chancelor. Everyone capable already tried and messed up. So Hindenburg, the Reichspresident (who was too old to get anything straight any more) chose Hitler as chancelor, as he thought Hitler would proof that he is not capable either and so the NSDAP would vanish.

A few weeks later, the NSDAP got the Ermächtigungsgesetz (authorization bill) through the Reichstag: The parliament decided to turn all power to Hitler and to shut down/impeach the complete parliament. The completely flawed constitution of the Weimar Republic allowed that. Of course the NSDAP had only a third of the seats in parliamant. But the SA marched up in front of the parliamant and did not let social democrats, communists, etc into the parliamant (some of them were already arrested by then).

So, yes, 30 per cent of the germans elected Hitler. But he only got to power because he did the trick with the Ermächtigungsgesetz. The problem with germany was that far to few germans did anything against that coup. Most of them wanted a better economy (a really lot of people where without a job) and wanted Hitler to do "something against hte jews" (not really kill them, but teach them a lesson, or so).

The Bush election is completely different. Sure, the voting election, the Supreme Court and the whole voting system was completely flawed. But Bush did not proactively participate in a coup like Hilter. Further you cannot compare the intensions of Bush and Hitler at all. And after all - I do not think Bush will have such a huge impact on history as Hitler.

Re:Paper and Pencil (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034546)

Not really. No party had a majority, governments kept collapsing for that reason and the economy was totally up the Swannee.
The President (powers pretty much symbolic, but he could ask a party to try and form a government) thought he could work with Hitler.

With the economy in that mess, some of the other parties also thought that they could, and even went along with emergency legislation to kick the Communists (16.4 %) and the Social Democrats (19.9 %) out.

Now the extreme right had the majority. Game over.

I suggest a minor change (3, Funny)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034398)

Pencil marks can be erased thus creating problems with fraud, ambiguous votes and the like. I suggest that you guys over there in Germany switch from pencil to pen, and solve that particular problem.

See, the source code for Germany's voting system is open source, and I quickly saw a potential problem and proposed a solution.

Re:I suggest a minor change (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034596)

There's a lot to be said for low-tech solutions to basic problems. Most "democratic" countries have aspects of their voting system which may arguably be described as baroque. But a simple paper trail of ballot-forms with marks in the appropriate boxes is still by far the best way to foster the people's trust in the system.

Re:Paper and Pencil (2, Funny)

Kenshiro (6045) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034406)

So is there any real reason to replace that with a system that is not transparent and where you have to blindly trust some tech companies?

Of course: because we all know that "The computer doesn't lie.

:)

Re:Paper and Pencil (3, Informative)

sould (301844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034414)

According to the minutes of the selection committe. [www.gov.ie] "The company will provide a large screen machine that has been used in the Netherlands and in Cologne and Düsseldorf in Germany."

So looks like its already in use in Germany dude...sorry

Re:Paper and Pencil (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034555)

Ah that might explain why the unknown Hans Lederhosen Beckenbauer was elected by a landslide majority in Dublin.

Re:Paper and Pencil (2, Interesting)

christophe (36267) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034465)

We Frenchies are not so sophisticated. All voting papers are pre-printed, I receive them at home. I don't even have to know to read, as the joined political advertisements all have a picture of the politician. I put the paper in a box, and I can stay at night to see that all is well hand-counted. I don't want it to change.
A 5-years old child must fully understand a vote system.

Re:Paper and Pencil (3, Informative)

CuteAlien (415982) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034488)

Hm, i did my last voting in dortmund (germany). It's not done with paper&pencil there anymore, but it's a digital voting system by now. And i found my voting experience slightly interesting:

There were two people in the row before me and both were having problems using the new system. Maybe it's the panic of computer-illerate people which does arise as soon as they are put in front of a screen. The first person did just seem to be unsure with the instructions and needed several questions to the voting observers until she was sure enough which buttons she should press. The next one had accidently pressed the wrong button and tried to correct it (you could hear the beeps whenever someone pressed a button - don't worry, they all did sound the same so you could not find out by the sound what they did vote). The vote observes automatically started to give him hints in voice which made clear that they had to do this the whole day.

I've asked them if a lot people have problems with this voting system and they agreed, that they had to help out people the whole day. So while the counting of the voices is eased a lot the voting itself seemed to be a lot more difficult for some people (actually i found it quite easy, but maybe it's because i'm used to computers). Out of curiosity i also asked what would happen to the votes if someone would switch-off the power, they laughed but didn't know what would be the result (i guess it's saved in flash or something like what - but i still can't tell you for sure).

And i also still do not know what happens to my vote inside the machine, it's guaranteed that you can check afterward the number of voters with the number of votes which were made (because every voter is also registered by giving a piece of paper to the observers, so the voters can be counted afterwards), but the source of the machine (not just code but also how the mechanics do work) should absolutly be open in a democracie!

Re:Paper and Pencil (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034499)

So is there any real reason to replace that with a system that is not
transparent and where you have to blindly trust some tech companies?


One reason might be to reduce the cost of voting so that you could afford more votes - closer to "people power". Another would be to allow more sophisticated voting systems. The Irish voting system, as I understand it, involves some complicated arithmetic on reallocating "surplus" votes after a candidate has reached the threshold for election. The sort of thing which is trivial for a computer but would involve a lot of painstaking and error prone arithmetic for a human.

Both of which are good ideas - but never at the cost of making the voting system more opaque or less trustworthy. I agree with the principle that voting software must be veriafiable by any interested party. In paper voting, we have complicated systems of sealing ballot boxes and transporting them under supervision to prevent fraud. We need the same electroinically.

Re:Paper and Pencil (1)

Ozan (176854) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034529)

Over in Germany, we use some of the least advanced voting machinery
imagineable. Paper and pencil. Votes are counted by hand, with peer
review, faxed in and published in detail in the newspapers.


The only reason this is still done in most parts of the country is the inability of Germans to go with the time and finaly get a decent voting machine do the work. No, as long as one can get voluntary helpers who have nothing to do than to count thousands of ballots in the night to the next monday everything is just fine.

Meanwhile in more and more cities voting machines are used. The vote is printed on paper as a backup which every voter can verify. Sehr gut, I say. Enough with the middle-ages, here comes the third millenium. Now the problem is to bring grandma Frieda to push the button instead of marking it with the pencil but this will work out soon.

</rant>

Re:Paper and Pencil (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034544)

There is a huge problem with using this system in the US. The US system relies on volunteers, and it is currently very difficult to get enough people to handle it the way we currently do elections. The german system would be impossible here.

Re:Paper and Pencil (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034595)

But then your chancellor for many years (Kohl) was funded by the French government (Mitterand) while he (Mitterand) wasn't busy organising terrorist attacks on New Zealand (Rainbow Warrior) or keeping his mistress at taxpayers' expense.

However I do think Kohl's endorsement of a German cookbook was a good idea (mmm, calories!)

uselections2004.c (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034374)

#include <pretzals.h>
#include <bomb_iraq.h>
#include <freeoil.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int bushvotes;
int othervotes;
int vote*;

main(){
if(vote* == othervotes++){
printf("Vote VOID");
othervotes--;
bushvotes++;
}
for (florida_votes; florida_votes<bushvotes(florida))
othervotes--
b ushvotes++
}
}

Re:uselections2004.c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034404)

Somebody vote this crap down. It might have been funny if he wasn't such a fucking idiot.

THEY'RE CALLED PRETZELS

Re:uselections2004.c (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034521)

It might have been funny if he wasn't such a fucking idiot.

Dude, get over it already! He won the election! It's been THREE YEARS!

Re:uselections2004.c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034539)

Looks like this was eith G.Bush, or just one count in "othervotes"... /*Revolution of the Penguin*/

Re:uselections2004.c (1)

GQuon (643387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034558)

recount() {
while (TRUE) {
othervotes++;
bushvotes--;
}
}

Runtime error in election.c:23
#24871 Integer Overflow

Re:uselections2004.c (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034569)

What the hell is this? It's not even valid C code.

Re:uselections2004.c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034578)

I'll write this in BASIC so it will be so simple that it can be widely understood.
10 PRINT "Democrat voters in Florida are so dumb"
15 PRINT "and were in such a rush to vote for"
20 PRINT "anyone who was not George Bush that"
25 PRINT "in their haste and ignorance they"
30 PRINT "managed to do the one thing that they"
35 PRINT "did not want to do."
40 PRINT
45 PRINT "They frantically stabbed their punch"
50 PRINT "at their card and managed to punch"
55 PRINT "out George Bush's chad."
60 PRINT
65 PRINT "They cannot blame George Bush."
70 PRINT "They cannot blame the courts."
75 PRINT "They have only themselves to blame."
80 PRINT
85 PRINT "What idiots! HAHAHAAHAHA!!!!!"
90 PRINT
95 GOTO 10

Irish people are morons (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034391)

They are so desperate to look "cool" that they slavishly follow any trend they see on TV or in Hollywood movies. Can't say whether it is sad or pathetic. They are like country bumpkins who want to act like city folk. They are fools to the core. They aren't tricking anyone -- "Begorah, here comes Mick, dressed like a Negro"

Never Worked For Me (4, Funny)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034401)

You know, I once tried that "turning in a binary and saying that I lost the source code" to one of my CS professors.

It didn't give me the expected result either....

Re:Never Worked For Me (1)

fishbert42 (588754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034566)

Your CS professor is an it?!
I've known some pretty manly CS women, some pretty womanly CS men, and a lot that fall somewhere in between... but none were at such an extreme to deserve the "it" pronoun.

Or maybe you're just bitter. =)

Why is this such a surprise? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034407)

After all the electronic records are probably stored using MS software (no source), served to the world on MS servers (no source) and emailed around government using MS Outlook (no source).

And I wonder what software they use in the Dail to record the proceedings?

This is why we need free software. It's not just for fun after all.

Re:Why is this such a surprise? (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034421)

And I wonder what software they use in the Dail to record the proceedings?

The dont need software in the Dail. They use large stainless steel containers to store all the bullshit.

Spending money getting it written?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034422)

From the article:
Instead, it finds nothing strange in allowing the source code to be held abroad, and in not bothering to keep a copy for itself after spending so much of our money getting it written.

There was none of your money spent getting anything written; your money was spent buying an already developed product right of the shelf.

Re:Spending money getting it written?? (1)

spydir31 (312329) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034469)

I'm guessing there was some customization done to fit their needs,
even though it is a pre-developed product.

Minutes of Selection Committee choosing e-voting (5, Interesting)

sould (301844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034425)

I've just found this document [www.gov.ie] - which appears to be the minutes of an Irish government selection commmittee debating the merits (amongst other things, search for neda) of this system.

Interesting quote: "The integrity of the electoral process will be assured for both the electorate and candidates"

Not all of the electorate it would seem.

Further on in the document
[emphasis mine]
"(2) No equipment may be approved for the purposes of subsection (1) unless a full technical description of the said equipment (including all source code and information regarding independent testing and verification relating thereto) has been laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas and a resolution approving a draft of the order approving the said equipment has been passed by each such House.".

Intesting hey?

Thats just one of the committee's opinion - and it looks like they got slapped down - but if I was Irish, I'd be finding out who this Mr Gilmore was & voting for him.

Re:Minutes of Selection Committee choosing e-votin (3, Interesting)

DarenN (411219) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034441)

No, they didn't get slapped down. The government ran a large number of tests on the system, but because they only had it for the trial run, could not make the source public.

Hopefully (I am too cynical to say "presumably") the source will be made available on the pruchase of the full system. While this is less than ideal, it's a start. Incidentally, the relevant quote about making the source public is given in one of the posts above.

My gripe with this system is the choice of underlying system that is being used. I shit you not, it is a custom Windows embedded, and the database is a modified Access one. That thought does not fill me with confidence

Re:Minutes of Selection Committee choosing e-votin (1)

sould (301844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034461)

No, they didn't get slapped down.

Quoting from the article I linked before:

Mr. Gilmore: I move amendment No. 39:

In page 33, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following subsection:

"(2) No equipment may be approved for the purposes of subsection (1) unless a full technical description of the said equipment (including all source code and information regarding independent testing and verification relating thereto) has been laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas and a resolution approving a draft of the order approving the said equipment has been passed by each such House.".

Having lost the-----

Ms O. Mitchell: Is that the amendment we were discussing?

Acting Chairman :No, we were discussing the section. We were discussing section 35 and are now at section 36.


Looks like a slap. Smells like a slap. Probably a slap

You say:
Hopefully (I am too cynical to say "presumably") the source will be made available on the pruchase of the full system.

and also:
it is a custom Windows embedded, and the database is a modified Access one

So...you hope the source to Win CE & Access will be released to the general public hey?

Re:Minutes of Selection Committee choosing e-votin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034542)

Very interesting. Democracy electrocuted. More evidence the sociopaths have the reigns of the world firmly in hand.

Re:Minutes of Selection Committee choosing e-votin (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034567)

For both the government and the source code requestors, what guarantee do they have that whatever source code they are shown is actually the software that is running in the system on election day?

I found this in the source! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034450)

int vote()
{
return (rand() % 5000);
}
trmos

software used in belgians elections (5, Interesting)

bowa (190003) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034457)

all sourcecode of the three systems used is available for download and public review on the site of the federal government.

http://www.verkiezingen.fgov.be/Nouveau/NieuwNl/Do kunnl/broncodes/Cdoku7nnl.htm [verkiezingen.fgov.be]

(clik on one of the three software systems and then on 'Hier')

Re:software used in belgians elections (2, Insightful)

dglaude (673571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034503)

What we don't have is the documentation, the compiler used, the checksum of the binary used during the election, ... Nor do we have the proof that this was the code really in use.

Check the code for yourself [wiki.ael.be]

Re:software used in belgians elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034519)

The software may be OK but I saw one of those

systems crash on Belgian TV (VRT).

Apparently they use normal PCs with magnetic

swipe card readers!

Let's spare time... (2, Funny)

christophe (36267) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034468)

...and let's proclaim that the President is directly nominated by IBM, CGEY, or whatever IT corporation wrote the sofware.
It would be as in the XVIIth century with the King choosen by God. Easy and cheap!
Then we can proceed to the next logical step: the revolution.

our new king (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034479)

Behold our new king! Whose right to rule was handd down by root himself.

last week's voting in .BE: source was available (3, Informative)

Void (2442) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034476)

During last weeks general election here in .be, 44% of the people voted on a PC. All registered polical parties participating in the elections, could appoint a few experts who were granted access to the source code of the program that was used...

Re:last week's voting in .BE: source was available (2, Interesting)

dglaude (673571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034517)

The expert appointed by registred political party had limited access to the system. Only the expert from the power in place had a way to verify something...

But 9 peaples can not verify a lot... and when they make advice to modify the existing system, they are not followed. Here is an analyse of the rapport of year 2000 [wiki.ael.be]

My mother is not an expert... who should she trust to control the election?

Normal citizen lost control of the election process... it this a democracy?

Not a surprise (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034478)

The introduction of electronic voting was a necessary step in ensuring the NICE Treaty was ratified.

Ireland had rejected the Treaty initially, and its government was astonished that the people didn't buy the party line. They assured the EU that they would have ANOTHER referendum (which may have been technically against the law) and keep at it until the populace did as they were told, and ratified the Treaty. (Also see Maastricht and the Danes in 1992)

Electronic Voting (while at the same time, eliminating "exit polls" which might have shown a different picture) allowed the Irish Government to obtain large "YES" votes in heavily populated areas that typically vote the party line, though not usually in numbers large enough to outnumber the rural population.
(See Divorce Referendum [adnet.ie] results for one of the few occasions that happened, and other places)

Since this is coming from an AC, you're either going "CONSPIRACY NUT!" or looking at the evidence with an open mind. Let's see how it's modded...

No need for commercial confidentiality (3, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | more than 11 years ago | (#6034512)

Commercial companies usually refuse to release sourcee code on the basus (reasonable) that others could rip it of, despite its being copyright, and it would be very difficult and expensive to trace and sue them.

Bit in this special cas, that doesn't apply. If every suppier of voting software has to provide the source of their system, any supplier who thinks he has lost a contract to a ripoff of his own system can obtain the source code and check it. Piracy would be trivially easy to expose, and a powerful ally (the Government) under pressure to clean up the electoral system.

So the usual excuse of Commercial Confidentiallity does not apply, and and any seller hiding behind it should be excluded from the tender.

Re:No need for commercial confidentiality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034603)

Truly you have a dizzying intellect.

Your argument breaks down this way:
1) If A then B
2) Assume A (even if the current case disproves A)
3) ???
4) Get modded up!

moron losing track of whois couNTing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034575)

buy our accouNTing (using the pateNTdead eyecon0meter(gpl)), we've determined, that if there IS another 'electshun' we'll WINd dupe on the smelly end of the felonious FUDgeCycle(tm) wonce again.

More Details (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6034588)

I suppose more details of the electoral system are in order...
For General Elections (to the Dail - main parliment) Ireland has a multiseat-Proportional Representaion election system - meaning there are more than one seats available in each constituency.
Firstly each voter can vote in order of preference for every candidate - For example say there are 10 candidates for three seats (my case last election) You can vote in order of 1 to 10.

PR works by counting first how many ballots are cast, dividing by some ammount (IIRC Number of seats + 1). This is set as the "quota". Then counting takes place. Once a candiate reaches the quota they are deemed elected. Then the amount of votes over the quota is distributed to the other candates, going on the next choice of the voters concerned.

If no one reaches the quota, the person(s) with the least votes accrued currently are eliminated, and their votes are distributed to the remaining candidates.

This is a complicated system and electronic counting would be an advantage - sometimes it can take up to a week to recount a constituncy, last time there were three recounts in one case, with the final seat going to the candidate with three more votes than the other!

Electronic voting was used last time in three places, with the results out the night of the election, rather than a day or two later. This lead to some problems when a sitting TD (equiv MP) lost her seat, and was told rather cruely, normally you get the results of each count so you are prepared for the result, long in advance of the declaration.

In my opinion, ideally Electronic voting is the way to go. However I don't trust the machines or the companies who make them, regardless of the published nature of the code. It would be very difficult to catch fraud taking place, and personally I like the current method (pen and paper). It is very satisifing putting a 10 beside the candidate who you hate :-)

tom.
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