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Why won’t it just go away?
July 6th, 2006 by teragram

I guess it’s time I wrote about the publication of the CEV’s second report. Frankly, there are some distinctly depressing aspects to the whole thing (not least the minister’s reponse) and sitting around in my pyjamas all day while my RSI gets progressively worse has not helped my mood.

“So, what did the report say?”, I hear you ask enthusiastically. For one thing, it said that the paper system is superior to the chosen electronic system because the latter lacks a VVAT. Great news! Except, they said it on page 153 of the report, and they couldn’t bring themselves to add it to their recommendations in any stronger language than:

The feasibility of implementing enhanced levels of audit within the hardware of the chosen system should be explored, including by means of the printer already present in the voting machine or by the further adaptation of the voting machine.

They also said, completely unambiguously, that the vote managment software (that does things like set up elections, collect votes and calculate results) needs to be entirely replaced. That’s great news, because from what I’ve heard it wouldn’t be accepted as a first year project in a computer science degree.

The opening summary for the report was much too mild for my liking. The first paragraph goes like this:

The Commission concludes that it can recommend the voting and counting equipment of the chosen system for use at elections in Ireland, subject to further work it has also recommended, but that it is unable to recommend the election management software for such use.

Sure, they were clear that the Groenendaal software simply cannot be used, but they could have been more emphatic about the other changes that need to be made.

So really what I want right now is for the e-voting system to go away. If Minister Roche insists on bringing it in I’m pretty certain that it’s going to cost wads of time and money (and heartache for me), and still not be good enough. Let it go man! Please!

Tg – in pessimistic mode


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