French Study: More Errors With Electronic Voting

ComputerWorld article on French study <read>

There were discrepancies between the number of signatures and the number of votes at around 29.8% of polling stations studied using electronic voting machines, compared with just 5.3% of those using paper ballots, and those discrepancies were larger in the stations using voting machines, Enguehard found. It’s unlikely that voters’ unfamiliarity with the machines is to blame, for two reasons, said Enguehard. The ratio of discrepancies between electronic and traditional stations got worse, rather than better, with time, and there was no correlation between the bureaus with discrepancies and the bureaus that received the most complaints about difficulties with the voting machines.

When they vote on paper it is quite an secure, private process:

In French elections, voters are traditionally presented with an opaque envelope and a selection of ballot papers, each printed with the name of one of the candidates. In private, they place the ballot paper of their chosen candidate in the envelope, before identifying themselves to voting officials who verify that they are registered to vote and have not already voted in that election. Finally, they place their envelope in the transparent ballot box and sign the register of electors to say they have voted.

The opacity of the envelopes guarantees the secrecy of the vote, while the transparency of the ballot boxes guarantees that they were not stuffed with votes prior to the opening of the poll. Patient electors may observe the ballot box for the duration of the vote to satisfy themselves that the envelopes in the box are not tampered with, and that their number corresponds with the number of signatures in the register when the poll closes.

When they vote by machine its DRE with no paper record.

The voters select the name of their chosen candidate on the screen and confirm their vote before signing the electoral register and leaving. But there is no way for the average elector to verify the honesty of the voting machine as they can with a transparent ballot box

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