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Electronic Voting Banned In Netherlands

Electronic voting has been banned in the Netherlands; this decision comes from their Ministry of the Interior.

"As long as there is no good alternative, Netherlands agrees with pencil and paper," the government said in a statement. "Research shows that there can be no guarantee of voter privacy with new voting devices. Electronic voting would require the development of new equipment and a large investment, both in money and organization. The government considers that this offers little value compared with pencil and ballot votes."

The decision was made to stick with a limited use of technology that actually works and is verifiable; paper ballots personally marked (not punched!) by each voter, tabulated by machines.


(Sample electronic voting screen)

As far as I know, the first person to suggest fully electronic voting was Buckminster Fuller; in 1971, he proposed the idea of "electrified voting." This idea was seized upon by sf writer John Brunner. In his 1975 novel Shockwave Rider, an extraordinary hacker holds an electronic plebiscite, the results of which are automatically carried out by the remainder of the software package:

From 0700 local until 1900 every veephone on the continent would display, over and over, two propositions, accompanied by a spoken version for the benefit of the illiterate. Most would be in English, but some would be in Spanish, some in Amerind languages, some in Chinese ... the proportions being based on the latest continental census. After each repetition would follow a pause, during which any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a "yes" or "no."
(Read more about Brunner's electronic voting)

Until we can get Nick Haflinger to write the software to conduct an unhackable electronic plebiscite, I think we should stick with paper systems. What do you think?

Via Netherlands says "nee" to electronic voting.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/5/2008)

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