Monday, June 25, 2007

Report slams U.K. e-voting trials

Computerworld has a report by Jeremy Kirk on the problems with e-voting in the United Kingdom.

The U.K.'s trial of e-voting and e-counting technologies during last month's local elections resulted in crashed computers and technicians scratching their heads while posing new concerns about the systems' security and reliability, a new report has concluded.

In one area of England, a manual recount performed after e-counting equipment was abandoned because of delays turned up a raft of uncounted votes, said Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group, which deployed observers to polling sites in England and Scotland.

The group, which has been critical of e-voting and e-counting, has submitted its 64-page report (format) to the U.K. Electoral Commission, which will publish its own report on the trials on Aug. 3...

E-counting scanners proved finicky due to incorrect paper sizes, scanner sensitivity and trouble in handling low-quality perforations on ballots. The most curious error in e-counting occurred in a ward in Breckland, England, where voters were given two ballots: one each for district council and parish elections. Officials tried an electronic count, but came up with far fewer district ballots than parish ballots when the two counts should be roughly the same, Kitcat said. A manual recount turned up about 56% more district council ballots.

"We haven't been given an explanation by the election official or suppliers," Kitcat said.

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