In February 2000, the then Government approved, in principle, the introduction of direct vote recording and electronic vote counting at elections. In broad terms, electronic voting and counting was originally proposed in order to:
- improve the efficiency of electoral administration;
- provide election results more quickly;
- make it easier for the public to vote;
- support a positive image of the country in the use of information technology.
However, over the course of the development and testing of the proposed electronic voting system, it became clear that, notwithstanding relatively minor issues in relation to the manual system of voting, there was, and remains, very significant public confidence in that system. Equally, it became clear that the electorate were not supportive of the proposed roll out of electronic voting due to significant concerns that emerged in public debate, in particular, on the security of the vote. Against this background, the then Government decided, in 2008, not to proceed with the implementation of electronic voting in Ireland.
While the counting period at the recent European Parliament elections in the South constituency took longer than would normally have been the case, the number of candidates standing for election and, consequentially, the size of the ballot paper contributed significantly to the counting period.
While electoral law is subject to ongoing review, I currently have no proposals to examine, or introduce, measures in support of electronic and online voting at local and European elections held in the State.