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Council member questions voting machines

21 July 2006 – Social-Democrat city council member Daniel Sajet has demanded an explanation from the city government as to the reliability of the voting machines to be used in the 22 November Parliamentary elections. He wants better surveillance at the polling stations, but does not support the campaign to return to the voting pencil.

Sajet emphasizes that his questions must not be explained as a motion of no-confidence. “You put your trust in the integrity of the system. I am not saying that cheating is going on”. Experts say that voting machines are unverifiable because they do not use open source software, and because there is no paper trail of the votes.

The council member wants better surveillance at the polling stations. Council members can contribute by volunteering as members of the polling committee, as Mayor Job Cohen recently exhorted them to do. “My own grandfather, who also was a member of the City Council, also used to do that”, says Sajet.

Recently, XS4ALL ISP founder Rop Gonggrijp together with a number of allies launched a campaign against voting machines. The Ooststellingwerf municipality, one of the last to switch to the voting machine, is now considering sticking with the pencil. In The Hague, the Green Party has asked questions on the issue to the city government.

Amsterdam council member Sajet is a proponent of using voting machines with open source software, as soon as they become available. He does not think that there is a need to return to the voting pencil in the meantime. “We use the material that we have”.

Sajet further warns that a campaign against voting machines may contribute to an atmosphere of distrust. “If this would lead to fewer people turning out to vote, then I would really find that regrettable ”.

In the USA, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s law firm has recently filed a law suit against Diebold, because it would have fraudulently claimed that its voting machines are ‘unhackable’, In These Times magazine reports.

To News from Amsterdam, Gonggrijp earlier said that he does not assume that there is anything wrong with the companies that provide the Dutch voting machines. “But I do not want to be dependent on the good intentions of a company. What is more, what will happen if Diebold decides to buy them?”

More: Protest against voting machine


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