Feeds

Ireland scraps evoting in favour of 'stupid old pencils'

Nation reverts to 'laughing stock' status to save money

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Ireland is scrapping the ill-starred evoting scheme on which it has already lavished upwards of €51m without a single vote being cast, the government announced today.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley said in a statement that "a process will now be put in place, including discussions with the supplier, to address the disposal of the electronic voting and counting equipment and termination of storage arrangements." Apparently just storing the system costs the country millions of euros.

The Irish government kicked off its drive towards evoting back in 2004, and bought into the Dutch-designed Nedap/PowerVote system. The process was fraught with problems, with questions about reliability and security, and whether or not the system provided a verifiable audit trail.

However, the programme gained strong support from the government, with former Taoseach Bertie Ahern calling for it to go ahead, "otherwise, this country will move into the 21st century being a laughing stock with our stupid old pencils."

Today, however, Gormley admitted that retrofitting the machines to provide an audit trail would cost the government another €21m.

He noted that “the public in broad terms appear to be satisfied with the present paper-based system and we must recognise this in deciding on the future steps to be taken with the electronic voting system.”

The minister also acknowledged that “the assurance of public confidence in the democratic system is of paramount importance and it is vital to bring clarity to the present situation”.

The present situation of course, is that the Irish economy is in collapse. The country is in its first recession since the 1980s, the government has published an austerity budget and the churches are filling up for the first time in years, because they're the only thing that's free.

Stupid old pencils suddenly seem like a good idea, though the politicians might not want to think too hard about what the public would like to do with them right now.

The biggest loser will, no doubt, be the Irish people, as they are forced to shell out to extricate the government from the mess. The Irish Times reports that the state was tied into a deal of up to 30 years for the machines, so there could be steep exit costs. Still, as one Reg reader noted, they'll once again have the fun of waiting for the results. Plus at least they'll be able to nick the stupid old pencils come election time. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.