Electronic voting — how a loser could take a seat

AS a systems analyst and election candidate who participated in the longest count of the last general election in Galway West, I would like to add my voice to the growing dissent about electronic voting.

I have no difficulty with the concept of electronic voting, but I have a serious difficulty with the system as it is proposed. Here’s why.

If I was a member of an ever so slightly corrupt government, who was marginally down in the polls and I wanted to ensure re-election, I might ask my chief programmer to set up a system to check if potentially losing candidates from my party are within 3% of getting elected.

And, where relevant, to alter the first preference votes of my candidate by +1.5% and the votes of the opposition candidate by -1.5%.

Not only would this be relatively simple to do in software terms but all record of this process could be erased once the figures had been successfully altered.

There would be absolutely no way of challenging such a bogus result without a written record of the votes cast, as the cartridges from the voting machines would also be overwritten with the bogus figures.

At present, voters can ensure that their ballot papers are safely put in a ballot box. While it is theoretically possible that ballot boxes could be tampered with, a lot of people would need to be in on the act to make a significant difference to a result that they would not know in advance.

With the electronic system, one person could do this job for the whole country. One of the most important principles of systems analysis is “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.

My recommendation would be to retain the current paper system until a properly accountable, electronic system can be devised.

Our democracy is too important.

Niall Ó Brolcháin,

83, Ros Árd,

Cappagh Road,


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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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