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2006-10-08 Evoting is Not Voting

As a belgian citizen, I voted today in Les Bulles for the local and provincial elections. It took me five minutes (including the way by foot to the local school) to do my vote. The process of the vote was controlled by randomly selected local people (this year, including steph). It's the classic voting system : two papers and a red pencil, nothing more. Efficient (if the red pencil is broken, the replacement could be done by a human able to carry twenty grams), under constant review (the process can be controlled by any human having two eyes (one is possible too;-))), fast (two papers : one the local election and one for the provincial election)… So I was very happy to still use the classical paper voting. Computers were invented in order to ease the use/access of information or speed up operation. Are the computers useful for voting ? I don't think so. They don't bring too many advantages compared to the paper-based voting. The principal advantage (the only one ?) is to obtain quickly the results (mainly useful for the media and the politicians not really for citizen). For the rest, it's very expensive, not easy (possible? just think about the article of Ken Thompson about Reflections on Trusting Trust) for reviewing, difficult to replace when broken, setup is more important than installing a pencil, difficulty of accessibility and has a multitude of dependencies (just think about electrical power and helpdesk). Only some organizations (poureva in Belgium) are fighting against the electronic vote. I hope that more and more citizen will understand the risks with the electronic voting systems. Yes, fraud is possible in paper-based voting but it's more easy on a large scale in an electronic voting systems as all the voting office received a black box. Vote for paper-based voting, nothing else !

To assure honest elections, we need physical ballots that can be used for a recount. Richard Stallman