I’ve had it. The Irish government’s position on e-voting is absolutely untenable. The more I read of the what the government believes, the more vehement in opposing it I become. The international media, and indeed the online community has thus far failed to notice the huge issues involved in the debate in Ireland.
Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen (Fianna Fail), responsible for implementation of electronic voting.
Fianna Fail (Biggest political party, in power now)
Irish Citizens for Trustworthy e-Voting, lobbying for a paper trail – at least.
Fine Gael – opposition party
Nedap/Powervote – the company making the machines. (A system that claims to be 100% accurate)
To my knowledge, Ireland will be the first country to introduce a total electronic voting system with absolutely no means of verification. And for my international audience here are some shocking facts about how electronic voting was introduced:
1. There was no independent Electoral Commission to decide on a system. This meant that the government in power decided to change the entire Irish electoral system, without reference to anybody.
2. The Minister responsible for the initial introduction of e-voting, and the Minister reponsible for the implementation of e-voting, are both former and present Directors of Elections for the political party currently in power (Fianna Fail). The conflict of interest issues here are obvious.
3. The PR consortium chosen to market the new system has dubious connections with Fianna Fail. A company of the consortium is run by a former Fianna Fail general secretary Martin Macken, and a former adviser to the current Prime Minister, Jackie Gallagher. Added to that, the former election manager of Martin Cullen, Monica Leech, sat on the panel that awarded the 4.5m contract to the consortium.
4. The Minister responsible has consistently ignored expert technical advice, and repeatedly claimed that the system being implemented has been fully tested. He has claimed that there are no working examples of a verifiable paper trail in the world. He has refused to accept that a paper trail might be needed. Oh and he lied, and lied, and lied. Keep scrolling.
If this happened in any other country, there would be a revolution.
You can listen to Martin being interviewed here. Its in the last 35 minutes of the show.
Furthermore, here is a parliament debate from yesterday:
Mr. Allen: How can the Minister reconcile his bluster regarding the
technological strength of the system with the statement released
yesterday by the Irish Computer Society – which is the policy committee
– and its chief executive for software engineering who said that any
electronic voting system must include a paper-based voter verified
audit trail because it is the only way to prove or disprove the accuracy
of the electronic count? How does the Minister match that statement from
the Irish Computer Society with the Brazilian experience?
If the Minister is so strong in his belief in the technological strength
of the system, will he tell me how the software will address the
petitions function and how it will be applied in the case of a court
challenge to an electoral decision? Will he give me a straight answer to
that question? The Minister should put aside his bluster about the
strength of the system because he is on shaky technological ground. He
is creating a crisis of confidence in the electoral system which can
only be put right by the Government admitting that some major
outstanding questions have not yet been answered.
Mr. Cullen: If Deputy Allen wants to align himself with the group
that held the press conference yesterday, that is fine.
Mr. Allen: My questions have nothing to do with the group.
Mr. Cullen: The Deputy specifically asked me about the group.
Mr. Allen: The Minister should not misrepresent me. I said the Irish
Mr. Cullen: I disagree with the group. It is talking about two
completely different systems. It is not commenting on this one. Let us
be clear – this is also a matter for the Fine Gael and Labour parties.
The group is opposed to all forms of electronic voting.
Mr. Allen: I asked the Minister a question; I did not ask about the
Mr. Cullen: I am answering it. If the Deputy wants the information,
I will give it to him but he should, please, allow me to answer.
Mr. Allen: Will the Minister answer the question I asked?
Mr. Cullen: The Deputy did this the last day also. If he wants me to
respond, I will.
Mr. Allen: To the question I asked.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order, please.
Mr. Cullen: These are the points I want to make. The group is not
dealing with the system about which we are talking. If it wants to deal
with a paper trail system, of which there is none anywhere in the world
– the Deputy referred to Brazil, on which I commented directly
If you need an example of political waffle/bluster/bullshit, whatever you want to call it, this is it.
Continue reading “Lies, votes and Martin Cullen: What is the government up to?”