THE NETHERLANDS government has banned the use of electronic voting machines in future elections.
Voting privacy concerns due to the risk of electronic eavesdropping were cited to justify the ban. Dutch election officials will return to using paper ballots that the electorate marks by hand to count the votes in all elections.
In a statement released last Friday evening, the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs said, "Research indicates that a secure voting machine that is immune to the risks of eavesdropping can't be guaranteed. Developing new equipment furthermore requires a large investment, both financially and in terms of organization. The administration judges that this offers insufficient added value over voting by paper and pencil."
The government banned both electronic voting machines that store vote counts in memory and those that print out paper voting slips. A group of academic experts assigned to study voting machines concluded that "even with regular testing of each printer, it can't be guaranteed that all devices stay within the required emission limits" to prevent electronic eavesdropping.
The country will investigate the use of machines for counting paper ballots by conducting limited testing during future elections. µ
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