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Dutch pull the plug on e-voting

Back to red pens - for now

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A Dutch judge has declared the use of Nedap e-voting machines in recent Dutch elections unlawful.

The 9,000 Nedap-made machines used in the November and March elections were not adequately authorised and at least one type of Nedap machine wasn't even certified. Despite the ruling, the election results will remain valid.

The ruling is yet another victory for the Dutch "we don't trust voting computers foundation", which in the past demonstrated that many Dutch e-voting machines could be easily intercepted from 20 to 30 metres away.

The Dutch government decided last week to pull to plug on the e-voting venture, citing the lack of a paper trail as its biggest shortcoming. Until an automated paper counting solution can be deployed, the Dutch will have to revert back to the red pencil. Citizens of the Dutch town of Utrecht will elect a new Mayor next week in the traditional manner.

Nedap says the decision won't affect its business. As the sole supplier of e-voting machines in the Netherlands it is likely to introduce more solid machines in the near future. At least one Dutch analyst called the situation "a blessing in disguise" for Nedap. Nedap stresses that reverting back to pen and paper isn't the solution.

Voters in Hamburg are to use a digital pen when casting their votes in the state parliament election next February. With the digital pen, which contains a small camera, voters can still use paper ballots and mark them with crosses as before. ®

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