Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Voting machines too insecure for Dutch election

People in major Dutch cities, including Amsterdam, will find themselves using pencil and paper to cast their votes in the elections in three weeks time. It's emerged that around ten percent of the computerised voting machines are not secure enough and have been withdrawn.

Thirty-five cities are affected and although some may be able to find alternative voting computers, most will have to revert to more old-fashioned means of registering the voter's wishes.

According to the Minister for Electoral Affairs, Atzo Nicolai, the problem machines emit a signal, which can be intercepted and used to see how the votes are being cast. The machines to be withdrawn are made by the Dutch firm SDU - almost 1200 of them will be taken away. They were investigated by the Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD.

Minister Nicolai explained the problem.
"The AIVD found that within 20 or 30 metres of the voting machines there was a signal and that it would be possible using this to see how someone had voted".

The right to secrecy whilst voting is a legal matter and so the government took the step to remove the offending machines. The withdrawal of the machines is in fact the latest step following a remarkable campaign by a group calling themselves "We Don't Trust Voting Computers."

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