April 23, 2007 | Michael Holloway

Electoral Commission grants official accreditation to Open Rights Group missions

Electoral Commission grants official accreditation to Open Rights Group missions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23 April 2007 The Electoral Commission have today granted Open Rights Group election monitors official observer status in the local elections of 3 May. The observers will be monitoring electronic voting and electronic counting pilots across England and Scotland.

The implications of the new electronic voting and electronic counting technologies will be closely examined. Their impact on voter privacy, their vulnerability to fraud and general electoral transparency will be under close scrutiny.

Around thirty Open Rights Group observers will be watching the electoral pilot schemes, which are deploying Internet voting, telephone voting and electronic counting technologies. The Open Rights Group observers dominate the group of official observers announced today by the Electoral Commission.

As well as monitoring electoral activity in polling and counting stations, Open Rights Group observers will be allowed to observe server hosting locations for Swindon, Rushmoor, Shrewsbury and Sheffield. The volunteer observers include computer security experts, mathematicians and programmers.

“These last minute moves to give us the opportunity to inspect hosting facilities are very welcome.“ commented Jason Kitcat, e-voting coordinator for the Open Rights Group. “What we will be allowed to observe at these sites remains to be seen.”

All observers will receive operational guidelines based on international best practice, with advice from leading election monitoring organisations. A report based on the observation mission will be published in June and submitted to the Electoral Commission and the Department of Justice (formerly Department for Constitutional Affairs) for inclusion in their evaluations of the electoral pilots.

Jason Kitcat is available for interview. Please call +44 (0) 7956 886 508 or email jason@jasonkitcat.com.

About the Open Rights Group The Open Rights Group is a digital rights advocacy group based in the UK. It aims to increase awareness of digital rights issues, help foster grassroots activity and preserve civil liberties in the digital age.

To find out more about the Open Rights Group’s e-voting campaign visit http://www.openrightsgroup.org/e-voting-main/. This e-voting observation mission has been funded by a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.