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January 16, 2007 | Michael Holloway

Taking the lid off e-voting

While the Department for Constitutional Affairs have left us in the dark with no news at all about the e-voting pilots due for May 2007, The Open Rights Group and FIPR have been hard at work. Elections are a cornerstone of our democracy so we're going to take the lid off the e-voting black box with an unprecedented week of unique free events. All are very welcome but spaces are limited.

Our headline event, "Electronic Voting: A challenge to democracy?" features a distinguished set of speakers with considerable practical and academic knowledge of electronic voting systems around the world. Their experiences will make for fascinating listening, we're looking forward to stimulating debate and questions from the audience.

Our workshop for activists will be the first time Europeans will have gathered together to formally discuss and organise around the challenge that e-voting presents our democracies. It will be a very exciting starting point for future collaboration.

We're also extremely proud to be able to present a special screening of "Hacking Democracy", a film which manages to make the problems e-voting poses completely accessible to a non-technical audience. It's a powerful film so we're sure that the audience will have plenty to discuss with the co-directors and MPs forming a panel at the end of the screening.

Electronic Voting: A challenge to democracy? (8th February)

Governments around the world are conducting elections using electronic voting machines, websites and even text messages. What benefits and problems have they have found? What attracts governments to evoting?

Come and hear noted experts from Europe and the US talk about the experiences so far, including e-voting machines hacked to play chess in the Netherlands and US problems that may have led to thousands of votes going missing in 2006's congressional elections. Confirmed speakers include:

Margaret McGaley (Ireland) Colm MacCarthaigh (Ireland) Anne-Marie Oostveen (The Netherlands) Dr Rebecca Mercuri (USA) Rop Gonggrijp (The Netherlands) will present a very short demonstration of how Dutch machines were hacked using a live voting machine.

This event will take place 6-8pm on February 8th at University College London. Reserve your free place and find out more here.

European Electronic Voting Activism Workshop - Sharing & Learning across Europe (8th February)

Governments around the world are increasingly drawn towards e-voting, despite the significant problems that have arisen in a number of elections. This workshop, chaired by Jason Kitcat, will bring together e-voting experts from around Europe and the US to share knowledge, ideas and experiences - frequently what happens in one country is repeated in another.

The workshop will include:

* Short country status reports from e-voting experts * A longer report from The Netherlands including an extended demonstration of hacking a Nedap machine by Rop Gonggrijp * Discussion of EFVE & EDRI (existing European umbrella organisations) * Development of an action plan on how to develop European co-operation

This event will take place 2-5pm on February 8th at University College London. Reserve your free place and find out more at here.

Screening: "Hacking Democracy" (6th February) HBO's screening of Hacking Democracy days before the 2006 US mid-term elections blew up a storm of activism around the many failings with electronic voting. The film's portrayal of supplier dishonesty and undetectable system hacks has sent shockwaves through the US political system.

We will be giving a rare UK screening of this film followed by a panel discussion with the film's co-directors Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels along with MPs from each of the major parties.

The screening will be at University College London, 6th February, starting around 7pm. Reserve your free place and find out more here.

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Comments (3)

  1. ernie:
    Jan 25, 2007 at 03:14 PM

    I took part in an e-voting powered election. The voting software interface was awful, counter-intuitive and lacked guidance through the experience. It required explanation at every step, making the notion of a secret ballot a joke. The vote was at risk of manipulation by staff or spouses / partners of voters.

  2. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » May 2007 e-Voting Pilots Announced:
    Jan 29, 2007 at 06:15 PM

    [...] The Government has released no information about the types of technologies or the suppliers that will be used in May 2007. This makes it difficult for us to fully assess the risks these pilots will pose to elections in those areas. In the meantime, to learn more, please do come along to our free e-voting events starting 6th February with a screening of the superb Hacking Democracy. [...]

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