As every Belgian citizen, I voted today for our legislative bodies (Chambre et Sénat). As always, I was confronted to the same problem: electronic voting. Technically, I’ve no problem to understand and use the system: it’s an ethical problem. I don’t know if my vote is correctly written on the card, even with all the given guarantees and technical details (you can test such a voting machine here or watch a demo of the Belgian system, both in French). Personally, I saw two problems:
- Source code is not available to any citizen, even if they promised to release it on the day of the polling (see the official website and screenshot below). I don’t think I have enough computer security knowledge to review those sources in detail but I think they have to make them available because 1) it allows a democratic control and 2) they promised it. I usually do not believe in conspiracy theories but … 😉 See update below
- The old lady in the voting booth next to mine was “helped” by someone she doesn’t know from the polling station. I clearly was able to hear technical instructions but one doesn’t know the exact meaning when the person told her “to point there“. Don’t be mistaken: hopefully this person was there to help her, otherwise the old lady wouldn’t have been able to vote. What I’m criticizing is the fact that all Belgians are not equal in front of the voting machine (although they are all supposed to be equal in front of the law).
I was very happy to see that all the French-speaking political parties presidents were against electronic voting (with some nuances for the MR party). Let’s see how they will act during the next legislature …
Update: at 17.00 (5.00pm) files were finally online (here and here, personal copies here and here). I guess they were not able before 15.00 (end of voting time) to avoid code substitution on some machines by hackers, like it happens with the Nedap machines in the Netherlands.