52 States in 8 Months

An end to the electronic voting machine!

Posted in Europe by Ulf on March 4, 2009

240px-bundesadler_bundesorganesvgThe Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has finally ruled the use of electronic voting machines to be illegal. I’m not sure whether this will only be a verdict against the machines from the Dutch Nedap company, or if the entire use of voting machines will stopped.

For background information, look at the 2006/2007 website from the Dutch group “Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet“. I especially like the demonstrations on how to manipulate a Nedap computer in 60 seconds and how to detect which party someone votes for from a distance of 25m.

chessvoteAlthough there are new approaches to electronic voting such as the so called “end-to-end auditable voting systems“, it’s hard to understand how they work, even for me (as a technician)! I mean, what they claim to achieve exactly meets what I would demand from a voting system, but it’s hard to understand the system itself.
I think we cannot accept such a solution.

Also, a simple paper trail won’t do the job. Nobody will trigger a recount if some election ended with a result like 53% against 47%. And nobody who manipulates an election will make the result be like 95% against 5%. That would simply be too obvious. What we need is a system that is not manipulated in the first place! A system which we can trust.

To stress this: Even an end-to-end auditable system can still be manipulated just as easily as the Nedap computer. The only advantage would be that we could check the results in the aftermath, and only if a sufficient number of voters checks their votes (which I think is not enough). And as I said, an attacker only has to manipulate the votes of about 5% of all voters. That will completely change the result of an election. Now, it would be easy to manipulate the votes of those 5% of all voters that would never check if their votes were processed correctly. Elderly people, for example. Those who are slow when using the voting machines.

I think the old pen & paper solution will do the job. Instead of investing money into electronic voting, it would be much more important to make young volunteers join the election committees. That would help.

And dear local mayors in Germany: Since you don’t need your Nedaps anymore, you can give them to you schools for the election of class representatives. Or you can convert them to chess computers. That only takes 60 seconds.


3 Responses

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  1. Martin said, on March 4, 2009 at 11:01 am

    No it’s not a full stop against electroninc voting systems: (links are in german)

    via : http://blog.fefe.de/?ts=b753edc1

  2. Din Mor said, on March 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    ARD hat gerade eine Umfrage laufen: “Trauen Sie den Wahlcomputern?” Da haben immerhin 91% Votum dagegen ist…
    Aber so wie ich unsere d…. Politiker einschätze, versuchen sie es trotzdem weiter.

  3. Ulf said, on March 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Hier ein Link zu der Umfrage:

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