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Finnish Court Dismisses E-Voting Result 114

Posted by kdawson
from the go-back-jack-do-it-again dept.
wizzor writes in with a follow-up on the Finnish municipal election in which 2% of the votes were lost by a defective e-voting system, and which the Helsinki Administrative Court had found acceptable. Now the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland has rejected the election results (original in Finnish; bad Google translation here) and ordered the election to be re-run. The submitter adds, "Apparently 98% of the votes isn't enough to determine how the remaining 2% voted, after all."
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Finnish Court Dismisses E-Voting Result

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  • 2% were lost... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mishotaki (957104) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:04PM (#27544517)
    If 2% of the votes were lost, how many were incorrect or not registered properly? If the system can lose votes, it can very easily put them for the wrong person as well...
    • by gringofrijolero (1489395) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:14PM (#27544565) Journal

      Depends how well they were "calibrated"...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488)

      If 2% of the votes were lost, how many were incorrect or not registered properly? If the system can lose votes, it can very easily put them for the wrong person as well...

      All of them. The voting device had serious usability issues, enabling people to get out of the booth without registering the vote.

      Re:Usability Glitch? (Score:5, Insightful)
      by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on 2008-10-29 8:47 (#25552091)
      The card should have been locked into the machine until the voter said 'OK' or cleared the screen, and locked it in with an alert and a deactivation warning if the person left the booth without doing either. Anyone can get confused about simple directions for an entirely new system. How many of us have tried to walk away from an ATM with our card still in it because we were distracted?

    • Re:2% were lost... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caliburngreywolf (1218464) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @05:14PM (#27544879)
      In the USA, there is often a dramatic difference between early morning voters (usually elderly or thos who work in schools) Mid-day voters (usually unemployed or work non-standard hours) and evening voters (usually work a regular day job) if the 2% was spread out evenly over space and time, representing a random sample, inference is acceptable, but if it represents, let's say, the several thousand factory workers who voted right after work in a district that is abuzz with fervor for a new labor-friendly candidate...yeah, you can't base that 2% of the other 98%
      • by bioglaze (767105)

        In this case the error was evenly distributed, because it was caused by bad UI design. The voters could pull off the card before they finished their voting process.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Eunuchswear (210685)

          In this case the error was evenly distributed, because it was caused by bad UI design.

          Uh, no

          You don't think there may be differences in how people who are "elderly or those who work in schools", "usually unemployed or work non-standard hours" and "usually work a regular day job" might react to bad UI design?

          (Using the categories proposed by GP).

      • In Finland, elections are held on Sundays so this argument does not apply.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      2% creates doubt and mistrust in the election results and that is unacceptable. What if the votes were lost in a non-random fashion? What if the same e-voting system gets reused later in a case where 2% could mean the difference between a seat going to one candidate or another? What if the root cause of the loss caused other problems as well? What does it say about the quality control and security of the system? People should be able to trust the outcome of an election.

    • If 2% is acceptable then what about 5%? 10%...? Where do you draw the line?

      The running of an entire country is at stake here and 2% is certainly enough to show there's serious problems with the system.

    • by Fulkkari (603331)

      If 2% of the votes were lost, how many were incorrect or not registered properly? If the system can lose votes, it can very easily put them for the wrong person as well...

      As far as I know, the reason why votes were lost was that the voting system had a very bad UI. For the vote to be registered, you had to push an OK-button more than once *) - something that wasn't that apparent, and which all users did not understand to do. Also, when then removing the voting card from the machine, no indication was give

    • by wizzor (1321693)
      The system required the user to insert an electronic ID card, input the candidate number and select OK. After this the system would display candidate information again, and to confirm the vote, the user would have to hit OK again. Apparently what happened was, some users instead removed the ID card prematurely, thus causing their votes not to be cast. So I disagree on your point about the system potentially casting the vote to the wrong candidate, but of course we can't be quite sure, as the internal workin
    • by jate (881011)
      According to the original sources (e.g. http://www.effi.org/blog/2008-10-28-finnish-evoting-votes-lost.html [effi.org]): It actually wasn't about losing registered votes, but about votes not getting registered because people pulled their smart cards out too early (insert joke here).
    • by hydrofi (576145)

      This glitch occured in Finnish municipality elections, where it is not uncommon to loose or win a seat with a margin of a few votes. In one of the municipalities, which trialed e-voting, a party could gain a seat with as few as 130 votes. More importantly, in the voting list sytem the people who actually go into the office (from their respective parties), is decided by their relative popularity on the party list. Therefore, even a single vote can easily (and commonly) change *who*, from the party gaining th

  • by mtrachtenberg (67780) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:06PM (#27544531) Homepage

    E-voting has had more lives than a cat. It should be over, done, kaput. An experiment that failed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It still amazes me that we put full trust (and R&D $$$) into electronic banking systems yet can't get the same technology to work for something as simple as counting votes.

      • by Chmcginn (201645) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:20PM (#27544601) Journal
        The problem with the electronic voting vs. banking comparison is that bank account have your personal information all over them. Votes, however, do not. If you gave up secret voting, you could likely make a 'secure enough' voting system, since anyone could check their own vote in the system.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          If you gave up secret voting, you could likely make a 'secure enough' voting system, since anyone could check their own vote in the system.

          This is actually a solved problem. When you vote, you get a unique random sequence of characters. After the election is completed, a list of all votes is published. Next to each vote, the SHA1 sum of the voter's personal ID number concatenated with the random characters is listed. Example (truncated SHA1 sums):

          64038c437f2c republicans

          aea7fb41626d republicans

          86895065f8

          • by GvG (776789) <ge@van.geldorp.nl> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @05:16PM (#27544891)
            You could be forced by a third party to reveal how you voted (they would force you to give them your random characters and then they would be able to verify that you voted as you were told to.)
            • by deraj123 (1225722)
              Hence the whole "If you gave up secret voting". So long as we agree that secret voting is necessary (and I would, in fact, agree to that), then this won't work as a solution for our voting problem. But your comment is largely irrelevant to the context in which this solution was presented.
          • Great solution. Now explain how that works to my sister or my mom.
            • You don't need to. You just tell them to look up the hash in the local newspaper after the election (if they want to), and disregard the random numbers they got along with it. Other people will check that the hash matches the random number and social security number.

              • You DO need to. The reason democracy works is because people believe in it, see it work, and can understand it.

                Things you believe in that you can't understand and can't see work are called RELIGIONS.

                • So driving is a religion? Most people don't understand how their car works either. They definatley don't get how the voting machine works.

          • Unfortunately this enables coercion and vote-selling, as does any system that gives the voter a receipt that can be linked to how they voted. An Evil Election Stealer can say, if you vote for candidate X, everything will be fine. But please tell us the code that the voting machine gave you, so we can be sure you did what we told you to do.

          • Just hash everyones voter ID and match it with the result set. This is easy to brute force because there is only a small set of IDs to be hashed.
            • The appended random characters make that impossible. Consider if they used id + random = sum, all just plain integers, no hashing (which is approximately equivalent given large enough range for the random values, I think). You know every possible id and every resulting sum, but you still can't connect them because you don't know the random number added to the id.

              Here's the that would be data published: (in "sum -- voted for" format)

              • 18273 -- Mr. X
              • 38475 -- Ms. Y
              • 83744 -- Mrs. Z
              • 23876 -- Dr. W

              The voter IDs we

          • Nothing Informative here. Just a complete lack of understanding how voting works.

            But it's GREAT if you want to have a DICTATORSHIP!

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            Do that and you don't have secret voting anymore. Sure a random person can't tell how another random person voted, but your union boss can see how you voted, or your boss, or your husband, or your pastor, etc.

          • by rkit (538398)

            Maybe I am overlooking something, but what is the point of hashing here? What is the gain compared with simply handing out a random number?

            Assuming the number is not random or can be stored, the hash will not prevent a dictionary attack.

        • by Sheafification (1205046) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @05:12PM (#27544871)

          If you gave up secret voting, you could likely make a 'secure enough' voting system, since anyone could check their own vote in the system.

          There's no need to give up on secret voting to get this. Thanks to advances in cryptography we can have secret *and* verifiable ballots. An example implementation can be found at Helios voting [heliosvoting.org]. Also, check out a description of a paper based system: Scratch and Vote [adida.net] [PDF]

          • by rkit (538398)

            Even if this works in theory, there may be flaws in the implementation. And even if implemented correctly, there may be issues with key management.

            But most importantly, for 99,9% of the voters, it is impossible to understand the system, let alone verify the actual vote. Therefore, it is just a matter of time (or money) before some manipulation by insiders takes place.

            • "Verifiable" means you don't have to trust the implementation.
              • "Verifiable" means you don't have to trust the implementation.

                But that raises the next question: Verifiable by who?

                Saying that there are some experts who can verify the proper execution of an election simply isn't good enough, at least not if you want to call that election "democratic". With paper ballots marked with pens and placed in a ballot box, any voter of normal intelligence can observe an election, understand the security properties needed at each step, and see for themselves if those security prop

              • by jhol13 (1087781)

                Utter bull.

                The mathematics do not address situations like results of temporary calculations being stored in hard disk and never overwritten.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              But most importantly, for 99,9% of the voters, it is impossible to understand the system, let alone verify the actual vote.

              To verify the system, only a small absolute number (not percentage) of people needs to verify it. Assume 1% of the votes are incorrect and 500 random (from the cheater's perspective) people verify their hashes. The probability that none of these are victims of a forged vote is 0.65%. If only 0.1% of the votes are tampered with, you need 5000 people to achieve a similar percentage.

              You

              • by rkit (538398)
                Just some thouhgts: The paper ballot can be understood and verified by every voter. The technique used may be simple, but the protocol is quite sophisticated. To verify the system you propose, you would still need to repeat all calculations. Also, how do you verify that the random numbers are really random? Your argument for stochastic verification suffers from a lack of randomness. The 0.1% percent that actually check will be far from random. Electronic voting is supposed to make the voting process eas
          • by weicco (645927)

            But there's still room for tampering the votes. There's always the question about public trust to the system also. Let me clear this up a bit. Oh, and I'm a Finn...

            Traditional pen & paper method is almost 100% fool proof system. It is almost impossible to tamper the votes and here's why: Every party sets their own observer to overlook the counting. Any foul play is quickly discovered by observers. In order to fool the system you would need to bribe a whole lot of people.

            With computer based counting all

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by DMNT (754837)

              I'm also a Finn and I was counting the votes at the municipal elections in Helsinki late last year. The system is even more tamper proof than described previously. First of all, the ballot box is checked at the casting of the first vote that there's no extra votes within the box. The first vote is stamped (like the rest will be) and put in to the box. The parties have a right to set an observer for the whole time until the votes have been counted. The next day the votes are recounted (which is where I was p

              • by weicco (645927)

                Thank you very much! I wasn't in the know how counting goes in action and that cleared things up a lot.

                Btw. I was counting votes last year in Kokoomus Puoluepäivät and there we had to disqualify, if I remember correctly, only one vote. I guess our party's voters are more adept in writing numbers. Just kidding... :)

            • by jsiren (886858)

              weicco wrote:

              But there's still room for tampering the votes. There's always the question about public trust to the system also. Let me clear this up a bit. Oh, and I'm a Finn...

              Traditional pen & paper method is almost 100% fool proof system. It is almost impossible to tamper the votes and here's why: Every party sets their own observer to overlook the counting. Any foul play is quickly discovered by observers. In order to fool the system you would need to bribe a whole lot of people.

              Another Finn here, and I agree with parent.

              Electronic voting has been marketed as ultimately enabling voting by web, SMS, and whatever channels. The reasoning is to increase voting activity. The reason why it doesn't work is that it's not the process of voting that keeps activity down - voting cannot get much simpler and still stay reliable - but the substance of politics. They're seemingly after the votes of those who don't care who gets elected, or feel that there is any difference between ca

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by weicco (645927)

                Electronic voting has been marketed as ultimately enabling voting by web, SMS, and whatever channels.

                Internet-voting is absolute horror. It can be made technically sound but that's about it. Who can assure that it is my wife who gives the vote and not me who stole my wife's ID card or whatever (not that I would do so, just for example)? Who can assure that one isn't giving vote under physical threat? Rhetorical questions but current paper & pen method prevents these kinds of situations perfectly.

                • Internet-voting is absolute horror. It can be made technically sound but that's about it. Who can assure that it is my wife who gives the vote and not me who stole my wife's ID card or whatever (not that I would do so, just for example)? Who can assure that one isn't giving vote under physical threat? Rhetorical questions but current paper & pen method prevents these kinds of situations perfectly.

                  My state (California) allows me to vote by mail, which I love, and it's not as horrific as you make it soun

                  • by weicco (645927)

                    But that enables, for example, me to vote "in behalf" of the whole family in the next elections, wouldn't it?

                    In my opinion, of course, there are some problems with elections in Finland but I don't think the actual voting happening is one of them. We have elections once a year at max so I don't think it is insurmountable problem to get to the election site. You have something about two weeks time to give your vote plus the actual election day. If you are sick in hospital, you get the change to vote from your

          • by 517714 (762276)

            So they just keep "two sets of books". One that is used for anyone inquiring about their vote and one that is used to report to the election commission that the highest bidder has won. Fraud is easily perpetrated on any "anonymous" system. Anonymity and verifiability are incompatible in a sophisticated system.

        • by rkit (538398)

          The real problem with electronic voting vs banking comparison is that banking has a completetly different aim: earning money.

          Electronic banking is not secure. Period. E.g. in 2008, in the U.K. online banking fraud caused losses in the order of 50 Million Pounds. However, the banks still make a profit. ("It's just the cost of doing business...")

          This kind of thinking is a bit problematic with voting.

      • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:26PM (#27544641)

        It still amazes me that we put full trust (and R&D $$$) into electronic banking systems yet can't get the same technology to work for something as simple as counting votes.

        "I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this--who will count the votes, and how." - J. Stalin

        Electronic voting does not have an inherent paper trail.

    • E-voting has had more lives than a cat. It should be over, done, kaput. An experiment that failed. Preach it brother, it amazes me that we put up with it. Verified Voting [verifiedvoting.org] is trying to do something about it, for those who are interested.
    • by ctmurray (1475885)
      The alternative of paper ballots is not much more accurate. I am in Minnesota and we are still counting ballots 5 months later and have 312 votes separating the candidates out of 5 million cast. Devil in the details regarding absentee ballots. Sort of a MN version of hanging chads.
  • A pro-cycling candidate didn't get in because he was short just a handful of votes. Well, now they're organizing the voting again (from the article in Finnish (yeah, I'm one of those who actually understand that crazy language)) and my candidate has another shot at it :o)

    Don't you love second chances?

    Of course, the real reason I'm happy is that this absurdity with 2% invalid voting has been overturned. Everybody knew that Helsinki Administrative Court's (Hallinto Oikeus) decision was shit - so, I celebrate

    • How is it a second chance? There so far has been no first chance, since the votes made the first time around don't count.
      • How is it a second chance? There so far has been no first chance, since the votes made the first time around don't count.

        Think of it as a chance for whoever is in charge of that election *NOT* to misplace 2% of the electorate.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:23PM (#27544615)

    I bet Diebold, or Premier, or whatever it is that pack of cheats and liars are calling themselves these days, won't be trying to place their voting machines in Finland any time soon. I doubt they could attain 98% accuracy even with only one candidate on the ballot.

    • by igny (716218)
      When we are talking about 2% loss, it is not about voting accuracy, it is about vote retention.
      • by ibbey (27873)

        When we are talking about 2% loss, it is not about voting accuracy, it is about vote retention.

        Since the election used a blackbox system (ie. no voter verified paper trail), we have no way of knowing whether the votes were recorded as cast or not. It's relatively easy to discover if the total number of votes recorded is inaccurate. Finding out whether they were recorded as cast is an entirely different thing.

        The problem in this case appears to be a usability issue, so there is no reason to be more suspiciou

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When your company name is so sullied that you need to change it, you ought to realize that you have reached the end of the line...

  • by sakari (194257) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:34PM (#27544685) Homepage
    Just to clarify on this, most still voted with the traditional pen & paper methods. I guess E-voting was tested in some places. The finnish E-voting system was programmed by TietoEnator, which has had some questionable results in the past too in delivering working software. Still they get a lot of the government related jobs .. gee, wonder why ?
  • That, for all else that is wrong with our system of democracy here in the UK, we have not forgotten how to use a pen and a piece of paper. When elections are being held, there's something rather reassuring to see a (usually rather dented) black box padlocked shut with a small hole at the top, and a large number of people queuing up to put their slip of paper in. It's worked quite well for the last 300 years. I really don't know what's wrong with it...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      When elections are being held, there's something rather reassuring to see a (usually rather dented) black box padlocked shut with a small hole at the top, and a large number of people queuing up to put their slip of paper in. I It's worked quite well for the last 300 years.

      "300 years"? Really. What, then, did the ballot act of 1872 [wikipedia.org] do?

      And then there is the matter of numbered ballots...

  • From EFFI (Score:5, Informative)

    by Razalhague (1497249) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:46PM (#27544739) Homepage
    Here's [effi.org] an article in non-google-translated English. Also contains some other links in English.
  • by mjrauhal (144713) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:46PM (#27544741) Homepage

    Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi) has an English article [effi.org] on this matter as well.

  • More Info in English (Score:4, Informative)

    by pookie13 (832250) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @04:48PM (#27544757)
    Actually the machines were supplied by local company called Tieto. [tieto.com]

    More about the case in English
    Yle News [yle.fi]
    Helsingin Sanomat [www.hs.fi]
    Newsroom Finland [finland.fi]
  • "Apparently 98% of the votes isn't enough to determine how the remaining 2% voted, after all."

    And why should they be? Not every country has a 'winner take all' simple majority voting system. And even if Finland doesn't, every vote has to be understood to have been counted even if they didn't go to some arbitrary clear-cut winner.

    Besides, that race might very well have been neck-and-neck. 2% of the vote either way might have decided it.

    • by jaria (247603)

      The loss of a single vote might have affected the results, given the Finnish system.

      My city was one of the affected ones. In our city there were candidates A and B who got the same number of votes, both on the margin that you need to get in, and only one place was left. Only one made it to the city council, based on a toss of a coin by the voting board. If there had been one more on vote on either one, the random selection would not have been necessary.

      Remember that we are talking about local elections and

  • Seriously?! More broken fucking e-voting machines? Who are these idiots and why can't they make a simple kiosk work? Why are they being paid to do this and why haven't I been hired instead? What am I missing out on here? Anyone? I *KNOW* that I could make a simple web app launched in firefox and attached to a locally-running apache instance on a linux box NOT MISS A SINGLE VOTE. I could even add touch-screen activation with the proper hardware. How hard can this be to get right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I *KNOW* that I could make a simple web app launched in firefox and attached to a locally-running apache instance on a linux box NOT MISS A SINGLE VOTE.

      I guess the problem was that these people also "knew", and thus didn't see the need to actually test the interface on a sufficient number of people - There's a 95% change that at least 1 out of 150 random testers would fall victim to a 2% failure rate. If you allowed the testers to leave feedback, the mistakes could probably have been discovered a lot faste

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        The problem with testing for 2% error rates on "usability" problems, is that there is a real chance that at least one of your testers is throwing a wrench into the gearts on purpose.

        Pick 150 random people from a "representative voter sample" of a population, like say 150 people selected for jury duty in new york city ("you people vote red.. the rest vote blue") and you are going to have more than 2% assholes that want the system to fail..

        ..and more than 2% drooling retards.. (remember, 50% of the peopl
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

      It sure seems like an easy problem, doesn't it.

      As a programming problem, it seems like an easy problem because it is. Thing is - it's not a programming problem. It's a security problem. As a security problem, the programmer is the most significant potential attacker. Does it still seem easy?

    • by jaria (247603)

      How does your system allow voting from multiple locations, prevent duplicate votes, prevent voters to be associated with their votes, etc?

      It is funny, and perhaps lucky that they got the user interface work so badly botched. The user interface is the easy part. The hard part is getting the security right and the entire country-wide system reliable, and not allow any particular party (such as the vendor) steal the elections, or allow government to look at how you voted.

      The system we used failed on all counts

  • Really, how hard is it to put together a secure e-voting system? I mean seriously, it's the kind of thing you would do for an assignment as a 2nd or 3rd year computer science student. I fail to see how these private companies can botch up such a simple concept as much as they have unless they've done it intentionally. What is stopping the adoption of a transparent open source system. Developed and refined by the open source community, free to be scrutinised by the best and brightest? The point of it being o
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jaria (247603)

      Its actually surprisingly hard, if you start to think about it. If you compare to the paper ballot system, there are checks and balances. The different party officials and citizens can oversee the counting (in fact, they volunteer to do it). One corrupt counter does not break the system, however, because the others will catch him. And its very hard to cause a country-wide discrepancy.

      If you compare an e-voting system to, say, a banking application, there's one big difference: in the banking application you

  • News in English (Score:5, Informative)

    by kaip (92449) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @12:37AM (#27546583) Homepage
    Some news in English about the court decision:

    Finnish e-voting results annulled, municipalities to hold new elections [effi.org] by Electronic Frontier Finland ry (Effi), the best summary in English, IMO;
    Helsingin Sanomat [www.hs.fi];
    Helsinki Times [helsinkitimes.fi];
    The Brad Blog [bradblog.com];
    NewsRoom Finland [finland.fi];
    YLE [www.yle.fi]; and
    Turre [turre.com] (the lawyers that won the case).

    The voting system was provided by Tieto [tieto.com] and Scytl [scytl.com]. In their News Page [scytl.com], Scytl declares: "Scytl's Pnyx.core successfully used in local elections in Finland" Shouldn't they update this...? It is even possible that the 2% of the votes lost was due to the Pnyx.core, instead of usability issues with the voting terminals, as has been commonly assumed - who knows.

  • by jaria (247603) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @12:41AM (#27546593) Homepage

    It is of course a completely correct decision from the supreme court to re-run the elections, and we are very happy about it.

    But it has been interesting to follow the developments and the various attempts to avoid this outcome.

    Before the elections, the minister of justice, Tuija Brax claimed any possible problems were "science fiction". After the elections and when the problems were announced, she has not been a support of new elections, just stating that the courts need to decide. However, she was quick to launch an internal investigation and fire the Director of Elections. Not sure the director was really the true guilty person here, but at least a scapegoat had been found...

    The city voting boards very resisting new elections for the last second. They came up with interesting claims to prevent this from happening. One claim that we've heard often -- even after the decision -- is that the new elections do not matter, because the party situations would not change. Well, they were missing the minor issue that in Finland the election system is based on voting on persons, not parties. Some of us do care about who we vote there. A more sinister claim was that the voters had conspired to misuse the voting system on purpose, to show that it was unreliable (!). Now, talk about science fiction, maybe these guys could be of some use in the JFK murder investigation? Not to mention the fact that a correctly implemented voting system should not be vulnerable to such misuse.

    The three cities involved are now extremely unhappy with the ministry, as the law requires them to pay for the new elections. The ministry has promised an extra budget to help out... though in my mind, the architects and vendors of the system should get to pay.

    Its also been extremely difficult to get any information from the government on the details of the system. The local EFF wanted to take a look before the elections, but was refused (or impossible NDAs were requested). I made an official request to get the cost information of the entire project, and the government claimed that they have no such information. One number that has been circulated in the press was 700 000 euros, but that seems low, given that a large number of design and specification work went in, even at the ministry level not to mention the vendors.

    All in all, a happy outcome:

    - director of elections fired
    - minister is now pro-open source and paper trail
    - general knowledge of possible problems in e-voting was increased in the country :-)
    - elections are re-run

    However, everyone is quite focused on the specific bugs we experienced, thinking that individual bugs can easily be fixed. I'm more worried about the process and the way that these things are done. I don't see a way to avoid bugs next time either, for instance. Lack of verifiability, openness, government not listening to citizens or outside experts, blind acceptance of vendor sales pitches, lack of sensible motivation for the entire effort are the worrisome aspects.

    • by Urkki (668283)

      One claim that we've heard often -- even after the decision -- is that the new elections do not matter, because the party situations would not change. Well, they were missing the minor issue that in Finland the election system is based on voting on persons, not parties.

      The election system is primarily based on voting the party, and only secondarily based on voting the person inside the party. Thinking it's about voting a person is wrong, meaning it makes people vote for the wrong reasons, even against what they believe in. The vote goes first to the party, so first thing for a voter is to choose a party. Then the voter can choose a candidate inside that party to support, but that's not as important as choosing the party.

      It's less important both because even if you favorit

  • English article from a Finnish newspaper here [www.hs.fi]

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.

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