Irish Republican News · February 18, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Massive distrust over e-vote plans

Plans by the Dublin government to introduce electronic voting are to be revised following the combined opposition of the other parties in the 26 Counties.

Little faith that the government would resist the obvious temptation to influence a paperless electronic system of voting united the opposition in the Dublin parliament.

The system advocated by the government provided less verification than an average shopping till.

International computer experts confirmed that the voting system could not be trusted because of the absence of any means to verify the votes or the results of the count.

In parliament, the Minister for Finance, Mr McCreevy lashed fears of "a dark conspiracy" amongst voters.

"This is an insidious, unworthy, diabolical and appalling attempt to create doubt where there is no doubt. It is purely a cynical political exercise," he declared.

An independent statutory panel will be set up to verify the security of the system in advance of the elections. However, the government is still refusing to allow paper records which could later be audited in cvase of dispute.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is continuing to reject criticism of the government's plan, insisting that the reliability of the system had been tested and that "it is good".

Mr Ahern said this week he had heard "no hard evidence" that there was a problem with the computerised system.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said that "serious concern" existed about the government's refusal to ensure that the new voting system kept a paper record of each vote cast. The Green party and Labour also backed the Fine Gael motion.

Backing the motion, Sinn Féin's Caomhghin O Caolain said Fine Gael has "spurned the opportunity to have the motion signed by the entire Opposition" by failing to ask for his party's support. He claimed this was in preparation for a possible pre-General Election pact between Fine Gael, Labour and the Green Party.

But he repeated his party's insistence on a verifiable "paper trail". He said: "It is anti-democratic for the government to forge ahead with this system in the face of widespread lack of trust among the public at large and among all the Opposition parties."

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© 2004 Irish Republican News