E Voting machines to be scrapped

cllr

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Good letter in The Irish times today suggesting that one of the machines should be given to each of the Third level Institutions and the three County Councils where they were trailed just as a piece of historical importance - before they are all scrapped.

My additional comment is that they could be located in the "Cullen Chamber to Commemorate his Constructive Contributions to his Country" - otherwise the rooms might be empty.
 


cathalrh

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I won't trust digital democracy until it emerges from the condition of every citizen having the capacity to transparently negotiate cryptographic webs of trust. That's not something you can build from the top-down.

With true digital voting we could significantly increase the temporal and spatial resolution with which the citizenry engage with government. Obviously, I still won't trust the demos or it's representatives, but I think we could make a much more democratic and accountable republic.

Hash out a new constitution and polish up a bill of rights every few years, while we're at it.

EDIT: These machines should be donated to hackerspaces such as TOG.ie and 091labs.com; this would allow the public to engage with e-voting, and encourage the development of secure hardware.
 

partnership

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What I would like to know is will they continue paying the lease on the storage unit in Monaghan. From what I read the person who got it was the nephew of the person charged with getting storage and did not have planning permission for the facility had to get retention. How come there was no enquiry at the time and why are they still paying?
 

hammer

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What I would like to know is will they continue paying the lease on the storage unit in Monaghan. From what I read the person who got it was the nephew of the person charged with getting storage and did not have planning permission for the facility had to get retention. How come there was no enquiry at the time and why are they still paying?
Fianna FAIL
 

lostexpectation

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€370,000 bill for empty e-voting shed - National News - Independent.ie

The 25-year lease given to Mr Duffy was the longest-term lease awarded to any operator to store the e-voting machines. Some 280 were held at the agricultural shed, which was built without planning permission. Mr Duffy was awarded the lucrative contract in 2004 by his aunt, former Cavan/Monaghan returning officer Josephine Duffy.

wow wow wow.
 

SideysGhost

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And some people still want to treat FFailures as a political party. For decades they've been nothing but a criminal conspiracy.
 

CptSternn

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'I had nothing to do with it,' says former minister Martin Cullen - National News - Independent.ie

THE former minister responsible for buying the €54m e-voting machines -- which have now been sold for scrap -- claimed yesterday that the debacle had nothing to do with him.

Martin Cullen, who now lives in the US, refused to comment and said he didn't want to "get into" a discussion.
What does it say about FF when their top ministers have fled the country after wrecking it?
 

Orbit v2

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Right, so nobody is going to explain why the Irish PR system cannot be implemented, whereas others can?
It actually can be implemented. I did some work on a proof of concept for it a few years ago. Keeping printed copies of the electronic votes is really not the best way. There are a lot of serious practicality issues with that, not least the large effort involved in auditing. The best way is to keep the system fully electronic but publish all the electronic data so it can be verified by other people's software. Verification by software is a lot more efficient than doing it by hand. Secrecy is maintained by encrypting the electronic data in a way that it can still be counted, but without revealing any information about people's votes. As well as the count being verified by independently written software, voters can and should verify that their votes were included in the count. They'd do this based on some information they only see in the voting booth, and by taking a receipt away which allows them to check that their vote was included in the count. The receipt also, doesn't reveal any information about your vote.

The system I came up has practicality issues too (mainly the very large amount of data generated makes it difficult for people to download it and verify an election) But, as far as I am aware other people have come up with systems that don't generate as much data. perhaps, a bigger issue with these systems is that while they are easy to use, the theory behind them is quite complicated. So, while the average voter doesn't need to understand how/why it works, some people certainly need to understand it.

The really big question is why do it? I'd ask why not? Too many people have backed themselves into a corner convincing themselves that it can't be done, or if we do it, it somehow must mean that we have to trust the hardware/software involved. That is not the case though. The main reason would be to save money and to provide a more efficient service, ie. exactly the same reason why other manual processes are automated. [edit] to be clear. I'm suggesting that it would be a reason. ie if someone suggests a system that works and would actually save money, then it should be considered, subject to the other caveats being resolved.

Of course, given recent history, this isn't going to happen in ireland any time soon. It'll probably happen first somewhere like Australia where they use a similar complicated counting system, but they haven't had the same sorry history with e-voting that we had.
 
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SPN

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It actually can be implemented. I did some work on a proof of concept for it a few years ago. Keeping printed copies of the electronic votes is really not the best way. There are a lot of serious practicality issues with that, not least the large effort involved in auditing. The best way is to keep the system fully electronic but publish all the electronic data so it can be verified by other people's software.

If there isn't a printout of my vote then how do I know that my vote has been recorded correctly?

If there is a printout of my vote then what is stopping me claiming that the vote on the printout is not what I intended?


All these issues have been debated at length over the last ten years, and the pros and cons have been thrashed out. The only possible solution that I have seen is to use a scanner to read the ballot paper and to do random cross checks of ballot boxes to make sure the ballot papers and the scanned data match.
 

Orbit v2

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If there isn't a printout of my vote then how do I know that my vote has been recorded correctly?
In one system, originally thought up by Prof. Peter Ryan in the UK, you actually vote on real ballot papers, except they are different in three ways. 1) the order of the candidates is completely randomised on each paper and 2) the part where you write down the numbers is detached and taken away as your receipt. That part also has a printed serial number. Before you take it away though, it has to be scanned. 3) each paper ballot is also associated with an encrypted electronic ballot. The scanned data together with the encrypted electronic ballot becomes your completed electronic vote which is transferred somehow to a count centre where it is counted electronically.

Because the order of the candidates is random, the numbers on the receipt don't tell anything about your vote. They are just random. But, it means you can go on to a website later and check that the electronic version of your vote has the same numbers in the same places. Also, the voter has to be able to choose from a number of different blank ballot papers, with clearly differing candidate ordering. Lastly, the system has to commit to the entire set of electronic "blank" ballots prior to the election. A random selection of them would be audited and "opened" to prove that they are all correctly formed. So, say there are 50,000 voters in a contest, then maybe 100,000 blank electronic votes would be created, and half of them opened up before the election to prove that the remaining 50,000 are correctly formed. As I mentioned before, all of this verification is done by software, and effectively you have to trust this software. But, the critical thing is that you are not being forced to trust the election system itself. And you can choose from multiple different people to verify your vote if you are not sure who to trust. if you consider all of these measures in totality, they mean an election system might get away with cheating on one or two votes. But, the chances of getting away with it drop dramatically, the more votes it tries to steal.

There are other systems suggested that use voting machines and printed receipts instead of paper ballots, but the principles are the same. The system has to commit various pieces of information before the election. The voter gets to play a game with the system/machine where the machine/system commits to something before the voter makes a random choice. The voter is able to check afterwards that the commitment was valid. And all of this is verified afterwards efficiently by software.
If there is a printout of my vote then what is stopping me claiming that the vote on the printout is not what I intended?
In any system that involves printed artifacts or receipts, it's up to the voter to satisfy him/herself before leaving the voting booth that what is printed corresponds with what they intended. If you're asking could a voter falsely claim afterwards that the receipt is different to what was intended, then yes that is a possibility which could be used to undermine confidence in the system, though not to actually affect the result.
All these issues have been debated at length over the last ten years, and the pros and cons have been thrashed out. The only possible solution that I have seen is to use a scanner to read the ballot paper and to do random cross checks of ballot boxes to make sure the ballot papers and the scanned data match.
I agree electronic counting of regular (ie present day) paper ballots is the most likely way it will happen initially (if at all). various issues were pointed out with publishing the electronic count data for our multi-choice STV system, but the use of encryption deals with those issues fairly well.
 

flavirostris

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€370,000 bill for empty e-voting shed - National News - Independent.ie

The 25-year lease given to Mr Duffy was the longest-term lease awarded to any operator to store the e-voting machines. Some 280 were held at the agricultural shed, which was built without planning permission. Mr Duffy was awarded the lucrative contract in 2004 by his aunt, former Cavan/Monaghan returning officer Josephine Duffy.

wow wow wow.
The Martin Duffy who got the lucrative contract is Fianna Fail apparantly ( as is the aunt ).
 

davidcameron

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€370,000 bill for empty e-voting shed - National News - Independent.ie

The 25-year lease given to Mr Duffy was the longest-term lease awarded to any operator to store the e-voting machines. Some 280 were held at the agricultural shed, which was built without planning permission. Mr Duffy was awarded the lucrative contract in 2004 by his aunt, former Cavan/Monaghan returning officer Josephine Duffy.

wow wow wow.
There should be an offer made in order to persuade him to sell the shed to the Government, so that the Government can sell it at some time in the future when the economy improves.

Could he not be convinced to allow for the termination of the lease on the grounds that vulnerable people are suffering from cuts to public services?

Did the then Minister for the Environment decide the length of the lease or was the length decided by a civil servant or by Ms Duffy? Surely, there must be a record of who made the decision and why.
 

davidcameron

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Why did Josephine Duffy not question the length of the lease before the contract was signed? Does she not realise the consequences that it has for the taxpayer?
 

jmcc

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I don't think that these people deserve any compensation.

Regards...jmcc
 

SideysGhost

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Why did Josephine Duffy not question the length of the lease before the contract was signed? Does she not realise the consequences that it has for the taxpayer?
Which bit of "all Fianna Failures are corrupt thieving parasites" are you having trouble with?
 

retep

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Just heard on radio this morning that the last of the evoting machines has been destroyed. Whilst i know the case has been made before to the contrary, surely at least one of them should have been preserved in the national museum collection, if only for to remind future generations how flawed and intransigent and arrogant govt ministers and the workings of government can be. Not to mention as a reminder of how much power and having it for too long can corrupt and impose an infallibility complex on the holders
 

RainyDay

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Just heard on radio this morning that the last of the evoting machines has been destroyed. Whilst i know the case has been made before to the contrary, surely at least one of them should have been preserved in the national museum collection, if only for to remind future generations how flawed and intransigent and arrogant govt ministers and the workings of government can be. Not to mention as a reminder of how much power and having it for too long can corrupt and impose an infallibility complex on the holders
Dept Environment kept four of the machines in Custom House, I believe - just in case the central heating ever breaks down.
 


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