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back to article Dutch pull the plug on e-voting

A Dutch judge has declared the use of Nedap e-voting machines in recent Dutch elections unlawful. The 9,000 Nedap-made machines used in the November and March elections were not adequately authorised and at least one type of Nedap machine wasn't even certified. Despite the ruling, the election results will remain valid. The …

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LEARN

From India.

They have been using these voting machines for the past 15years and we havent heard any complaints or mysterious (American) working ways of the "bush panel syndrome".

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Eh?

"Nedap stresses that reverting back to pen and paper isn't the solution."

The solution to what? Last I checked Pen and Paper didn't have a "problem" with it.

A) It gives the local old folk something to do, you know how grandma loves to count those stacks of paper!

B) Is far more reliable than these "new methods" being devised.

If they can make voting machines as tamper proof as paper, go for it. Untill there I think Pen/Paper is fine. ;)

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Jan

Counting with paper didn't take long

I have worked both with counting the paper ballots and with an electronic machine at a Dutch parliament election (mind you, with 24 participating parties there *is* something to count).

With the paper ballots we were done (with 3 verifying counts, just to make sure!) in 1.5 hours. With the voting machine it took 1.5 hours longer due to a malfunction in the GPRS upload channel.

The whole black box principle of the current implementation of electronic voting machines, where essentially a for-profit entity together with the sitting government are entrusted with our democracy, *that* has to go.

I for one would not be against an electronic voting system that is well understood by enough technical people, ran by an open but centralized not-for-profit organization manned by people drawn at random and very closely watched by a good sample of that group of technically competent people.

Bring on the argument that it is harder to do election fraud when you have to subvert 10.000 polling stations. Please. I will point you to countless elections in essentially dictator run countries that were ran this way and were nicely subverted.

No, try to subvert one heavily monitored glass house.

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Title, or summink

Some sort of automated paper couting system. Hmm, you could use pieces of card with holes punched in them. I call them hole-papers, although I think IBM may have some sort of prior art.

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Keep It Simple

Designers of secure or high-reliability systems know that simple is best in these areas. Any extra complexity is just a route for loop-holes and mistakes to creep in.

Paper and pencil are a simple and elegant system that has worked well for years. It is reliable, understandable and has the confidence of the public. If speed of counting is really an issue then the machines used to score multiple choice exams work just fine. They may not be new and exciting but they are tried and tested and they would preserve the voting slips for human verification as required. It is mind boggling to me that any country would waste tax payer's money on anything else.

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Bronze badge

Re: Keep It Simple

Exactly! The whole election process depends on trust, and one important component of it is that everyone who participates in it must be able to see and understand what is going on. This means the basic operation may not include any "black boxes" in a critical role.

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Silver badge

The sirens of technology becon again

It is easy to think that all of our current activities should be transformed into some electronic form or another. Easy and wrong.

It reminds me of the argument about magnetic bearings vs ball bearings. Yes, magnetic bearings are highly efficient, and highly technological things, but pull the plug and they are useless. Besides, engineering specifications call for a back-up bearing in case the magnetic bearing fails. Ball bearings are EMP-resistant, work in all types of weather and atmospheric conditions, and need absolutely no power source to work. Additionally, ball bearings can be extremely well manufactured, to the point where their efficiency is just as good as magnetic bearings.

The voting issue is the same kind of subject. We have an existing technology that works very well, is reasonably foolproof, and needs next to no investment or technology to function as intended. Some absolutely want to replace that with an unproven, unsecure technology that not only has trouble doing what it should do, but also gives no guarantee that it will produce results that are strictly in accord with the actions of the voters.

Sorry, but e-voting does NOT get my vote, not by a long shot.

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