By John Daly in Germany @ Tuesday, March 03, 2009 12:23 PM
| ||Germany's Federal Constitutional Court has decided that electronic voting machines do not meet the requirements of the German constitution and may not be used for the time being. |
A former professor of political sciences and his son filed complaints with the court concerning the use of voting machines in the 2005 government elections.
A new election will not be necessary, as there was no proof of manipulation and the right of continuance of the elected government overweighed the remote possibility of someone tinkering with the machines. However, the court said the federal act on the use of voting machines was unconstitutional.
Transparency of voting is a basic principle of German constitutional law, requiring that all single steps of an election can be checked and be held accountable - which means control of both vote and outcome are highly guarded. Electronic voting machines would only fulfill these requirements - in contrast to the good old procedure - if the individual steps of the vote and vote counting could be reliably checked, without requiring special knowledge. This was not the case back in 2005, and is still not the case with current machines, as coding errors or direct manipulation of the software cannot be checked by the general public.
Nonetheless, the state is not barred from using voting machines if the machines fulfill the basic principle of transparency. The court made it clear that a simple print-out or flashy icon displaying what party or person was voted for is not enough.
Not only that, any constraint on the people's right to know cannot be alleviated by having a state institution check machines to make sure they have not been tampered with. In other words, there won't be any voting machines used in Germany in the future and voters will carry on using pen and paper, in stark contrast to places such as Florida.
It also means Dutch company Nedap won't sell anything in Germany anymore. X
Check out the World news at our sister site The News
| || Add Comment|| |
| || |