Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (82)

Liam Twomey


211 Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on the evidence of the unreliability of electronic voting which makes the need for a paper trail more compelling and that the outcome of any election could be challenged. [2952/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The electronic voting system to be used in this country has a proven record of reliability, having been used in the Netherlands for over ten years and for some years in parts of Germany. The version of the voting machine for use here has undergone extensive testing by two international testing institutes which have positively endorsed the hardware and the proprietary software used in it. The system will not be connected to any network and security hardened stand-alone PCs will be employed for the programming and counting of modules.

The electronic voting system will, following the count, produce a full printout of all votes cast and of vote transfers. The proposition that an electronic system can be validated by a paper receipting process is highly problematic and creates many practical difficulties. Most fundamentally, it involves a dual system in which ambiguity will obtain as to whether the electronic data or the paper trail represents the validly cast vote. It is also premised on the perfect functioning of a printer. For these and other reasons, only a very small minority of electronic voting systems worldwide have incorporated a paper receipting function and it is not proposed to do this in Ireland. Adequate tests and checks will be deployed in advance of elections and will be capable of being deployed after elections to validate and provide reassurance on the integrity of the electronic voting system used in this country.