Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No Electronic Voting in the Netherlands

Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet - www.wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl

DutchNews.nl -
Red pencils to return to polling stations
Thursday 27 September 2007

Traditional ballot papers should replace voting computers at election time until all problems with electronic voting have been removed, concludes a government commission set up to look at Dutch voting systems.

The commission also said that the time is not yet right to allow people to vote by internet.

The old-fashioned ballot paper is preferable because it is easier to control the outcome of the vote, the commission said. It is extremely difficult to check results stored in a computer's memory, the commission said.

Junior home affairs minister Ank Bijleveld told ANP news service that it was now extremely likely that voting in the next scheduled election – for the European parliament in 2009 – would be done using the traditional red pencil and paper.

The commission also recommends that voters be allowed to cast their vote at any polling station, as long as they can prove their identity.

COMMENT: The Korthals Altes Committee investigation into the voting process and this final report (Dutch .pdf), entitled Vote with Confidence, was prompted by hackers' easy ability to get into the system. Two important points -
  • The current electronic voting machines do not comply with basic voting requirement (transparency, controllability, integrity)
  • The paper ballot still offers the best way to comply
The decision is temporary, but let's hope it becomes permanent. Would the US Federal and Secretaries of State want such transparency and integrity in our voting system? Don't count on it. Our own Vermont SoS seems to believe in the efficiency and reliability of the current ballot optical scanning system; although her office claims to take all 'reports' seriously, she has not followed the recommendations of the Brennan Center report assessing the threats to the most commonly used types of voting technology. That report concluded that direct record electronic (DRE) machines, both with and without a contemporaneous paper record and paper-based optical scan voting systems were susceptible to fraud and manipulation, if appropriate procedures were not in place.

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