Irish e-voting system under scrutiny due to concerns about fraud

An independent committee is looking into the alleged security flaws of an e-voting system set to be used for the next European and regional elections. The report is due out on 1 May.

The proposed Irish e-voting system for this year's European
and regional elections will undergo scrutiny by a group of
independent experts who will look into the system's alleged
security flaws. A report is due out on 1 May, following which the
government could decide to withdraw its plans. The group, called
the 'Commission on electronic voting' has built a
websitewhich was made public today.
The proposal, put forward last year by the Irish government, drew
furious criticism from civil liberties group and the opposition
labour party about alleged security shortcomings.

The Irish Citizens for Trustworthy e-voting (ICTE) - a watchdog
group made up of computing experts, academics and citizens - says
the system does not eliminate the risk of votes being recorded
incorrectly. If this were to happen, whether because of flaws in
the software or "by malicious intent", it says a recount would be
impossible. ICTE therefore proposes that a paper ballot be produced
by the machine to confirm individual polls so that voters can check
that their choice has been recorded properly. The paper would then
be placed in a separate box for a possible future recount.

In the US, similar security doubts led the Pentagon to scrap its
e-voting plans after experts concluded that the system posed a
serious risk of election fraud. The experts even went as far as to
say that Internet voting should not take place until both the
Internet infrastructure or the personal computer were
"fundamentally changed."

At EU level, the Commission recently organised a seminar on
e-democracy as a follow-up to its September 2003 communication on
e-government (see EURACTIV's new, fully updated

LinksDossier on
). Responding to EURACTIV
in january, an expert from Gallup Europe expressed doubts on the
idea of online voting altogether (see
EURACTIV, 13 January 2004).


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