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Arrogant Government forced to back down on Electronic Voting

4 May, 2004


Speaking during the Report Stage of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2004, Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. welcomed the findings of the Commission on Electronic Voting, saying that the absence of a verifiable voter trail and the failure to publish the source code had represented fatal flaws in the Government's plans for the introduction of e-voting. Sinn Fein tabled a number of significant amendments to the Bill.

Deputy Morgan said:

"Sinn Féin welcomes the fact that the Government has abandoned its plans for the introduction of electronic voting at the forthcoming election following the publication of findings of the Commission on Electronic Voting. What was surprising was that the Government took so long to take this decision given the overwhelming concerns that existed regarding the secrecy and accuracy of the system which they proposed to use. Given the magnitude of Minister Cullen's arrogance there was a very real fear that the Government under direction from Minister Cullen would attempt to ignore the Commission's findings and plough ahead with the introduction of electronic voting.

"The absence of a verifiable voter trail and the failure to publish the source code had represented fatal flaws in the system of electronic voting which was proposed to be introduce."

Sinn Féin tabled a number of significant amendments including an amendment which seeks to address the continuing denial by this State of prisoners right to vote. The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that denying prisoners the right to vote was in breach of Article 3 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Sinn Féin amendment would bring Irish legislation into compliance with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights.

An amendment to delete the requirement for supplementary register forms to be signed by the applicant in the presence of a member of the Garda Síochána was also put forward becuase the current requirements act as a "severe disincentive" to people in disadvantaged communities where there exists in many cases a recognised poor relationship between the community and the Gardaí. "The Government needs to be doing more to encourage and enable people, including ayslum seekers and refugees to exercise their right to vote, not putting disincentives in their way."ENDS

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