"Slow. Expensive. Unreliable. Unverifiable." Those don't sound like the specs you'd put in a procurement document for a system undergirding electoral democracy, but they're the words Jason Kitcat used repeatedly to describe what Open Rights Group found when it observed the use of e-voting in England and Scotland's pilot trial of the technologies in May 2007.
Speaking at the release of ORG's election report, Kitcat described failures that ORG's volunteer observers saw or had reported to them. In Rushmoor, a candidate reported that the online ballot mis-identified his opponent's party affiliation. In Breckland, a manual recount of non-electronic ballots initially counted by computer turned up more than 50% more votes than the e-count. At least Breckland had a non-electronic ballot to fall back upon. In fully electronic systems being adopted in other districts, a "recount" can only repeat the same tally of bits, with no certain way to detect improper recording or tampering.
ORG concludes that, given the problems observed and the questions remaining unanswered, it cannot express confidence in the results declared in areas observed. Given these findings, ORG remains opposed to the introduction of e-voting and e-counting in the United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, ORG's findings mirror those of EFF and others regarding United States deployment of e-voting. In a process led by vendors, veiled in proprietary trade secrecy, with inadequate attention to the security and verification required for confidence in democratic elections, e-voting and non-transparent e-counting do not serve the American or British citizenry. ORG is taking great steps to expose the flaws and push for more accountable voting.Posted by Wendy at June 21, 2007 02:31 AM | TrackBack