Computerized Elections in Israel

Background Information

The Israeli Ministry of Interior is planning to computerize the process of elections in Israel, using electronic voting machines. They are planning to start by running a pilot in ten settlements during the upcoming Nov. 27, 2007 council elections.
Sources:

This is a Bad Idea

The following reasons are given for the move to computerized elections:

  1. Reduction and even elimination of rigging votes and multiple voting.
  2. Election results availability few minutes after end of elections.
  3. Budgetary savings.
  4. Ability to vote from anywhere without special procedures.

Unfortunately, the first three reasons are either untrue or are insufficient justification for switching to computerized elections.

  1. The worldwide experience with election machines is that they are not secure, not well-designed, violate anonymity of votes, and facilitate rigging of votes even more than paper based ballots.
    Sources:

  2. Election results are not available if the voting machines develop technical problems, as they did in several elections in the world. A more fundamental point is that the integrity of the election process is worth the wait until the next morning. Confronted by the choice between rigged elections with speedy results and clean elections with results available only after 10 hours or so, every sane citizen would choose the second alternative without thinking twice.
  3. Any budgetary savings from using election machines are wiped by bad policies adopted by corrupt politicians, who got elected to office thanks to corrupt elections process. This is one place where one could be penny wise and Pound foolish (or one million wise and ten billion foolish).
  4. The fourth goal of computerized elections can be accomplished by alternative means - for example, by using computers only to verify that a voter did not already vote elsewhere. Paper ballots can still be used for the actual votes.

See also:

It is to be noted that the talkbacks to the news items about the Israeli Ministry of Interior plans demonstrate that Israelis are clueful about the dangers of electronic elections.

What Can be Done About This?

  • Find which voting machines will be used in the pilot and publicize audit results and cracking tips available from other countries where they were already used.
  • Refuse to vote in the voting machines during the pilot.
  • In the pilot, the results from the electronic voting machines will not have official use, so it may not be unlawful to actually crack into them. DISCLAIMER: IANAL. CONSULT WITH YOUR LAWYER BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS SUGGESTION.

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