Cullen rules out use of e-voting in June

Tuesday 04 May 2004 12.51
Martin Cullen - Facing calls for resignation
Martin Cullen - Facing calls for resignation

The Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Martin Cullen, has said electronic voting will not be used in the local and European elections in June.

Mr Cullen's decision follows the publication of today's report from the Independent Commission on Electronic Voting, which said the system's reliability could not be established to its satisfaction.

In its report, the commission said it has not been able to satisfy itself sufficiently as to the accuracy and secrecy of the chosen system.

The commission emphasises that its conclusion is not based on any finding that the system will not work, but on the finding that it has not been proven at this time to the satisfaction of the commission that it will work.

Testing identified an error in the count software that could lead to incorrect distribution of surpluses. The commission found it was 'very easy' to bypass security measures on the computer doing the count, and it had concerns about the secrecy of the ballot.

The commission was set up by the Government to look into the accuracy and security of the electronic voting system.

Call for Cullen's resignation

In the wake of the report, the Labour Party has called on Minister Cullen to resign. Labour claims Mr Cullen totally ignored all valid concerns raised by Opposition parties and by every technical expert.
The Fine Gael Spokesman on the Environment, Bernard Allen, claimed Minister Cullen had tampered with the very essence of democracy and had wasted taxpayers' money.

Mr Cullen rejected the claims but said today had not been a great day for him.

Around €40 million has so far been spent in acquiring the necessary machines.