Never Trust a Machine | Electronic Fiasco at the Israeli Labour Party

Never rely on a machine and never trust it: The Israeli Labour Party’s primary elections were cancelled due to malfunctions in voting machines. The voting machines were mere PC computers linked together, allowing voters to vote for their candidates. One problem was that Benjamin Ben Eliezer (Fouad) was absent from the votes after he was thrown away from the promised 7th place only four days earlier. However, the failure in deciding to go on voting machines was a human error: Choosing a system that will obviously fail is wrong, and since we knew that this is about to happen, someone has to go home. It is not only The Simpsons’ parody, but also claims for failures in the recent US elections as well rigging the 2004 ones. But still, people want “Progress” and try to use technology where they can’t.

The main issue with electronic voting is that there’s no paper trail of the actual vote (apart from the inherent way of breaching one’s privacy); in contrast of ballots in real votes, the computer just lists the time and the candidate you voted for.. A comprehensive article from Illinois Business Law Journal reviews these problems and explains why electronic voting systems are not fail-safe. These systems are subjected to hacking in a roughly easy manner, and without using complicated tools or technological know-how (and it’s always a good sign when the hacker is threatened by a lawsuit). The fact that these machines use proprietary code and not open source increases both the inherent risk of fraud and hacking, and since no one knows what they record, it’s always open for business.

Moreover, along the years a few conspiracy theorists linked between political candidates and voting machine manufacturers. This also may be a problem, when they go malfunct and there’s no way to know what went wrong.

The Israeli Ministry of Interior משרד הפנים מעוניין wants e-voting in Israel after all. Democracy, according to them, is only a small consideration when the costs are too hight. Of course, by looking at our electronic booths you can understand the means of security we implemented. This is a small PC that anyone can hack from a distance and inject with fraudulent votes, or just circumvent it (I was told it uses a cellular connection, which might not be encrypted).

Our politicians got an extension, what are their skeletons?

[Originally in Hebrew]

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