[Fsfe-ie] perspective on e-voting

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Sat Feb 28 07:15:02 CET 2004

Cathal Mc Ginley <cathalmcginley at eircom.net> writes:
> Is anyone at IFSO doing anything on the e-voting campaign at the moment?

Aidan Delaney is(?) working on this.

> Is there still a desire for us to give the free software angle [...]
> 'Electronic voting must not use secret software'.

1. Voting *must* be verifiable (paper audit trail)
2. The totaling system *should* be transperant

(Both are missing from the planned system.  Lesser issues exist too.)

Without #1, we don't know if we live in a democracy or not.

On #2, the source code *should* be viewable.  There is no legitimate
reason for an honest government to hide the instructions that will be
used to total the votes - but this is not fundamental to democracy.

As a liberty-in-software group, I think we're in a good position to
comment on #2 - but I think we'd have to be careful not to push #1 out
of politicians heads.

"Dear Ms. Politician,
   Regarding the use of electronic voting equipment, IFSO seconds the
 proposal of [the good e-voting group], but we would also like to
 comment on the non-transperancy of the voting software .. yakkity

If you can work on this, you could talk to Aidan or write your own
letter (which could be sent personally or as IFSO (after committee
review (or something))).

Don't worry about who the target is.  That can be figured out during or
after the letter writing process - if you put off writing the letter it
may never happen.  The target will be someone non-technical, a mail to
the e-voting list (@stdlib.net I think) will probably get the answer.

Ciarán O'Riordan
Irish Free Software Organisation: http://ifso.info/

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