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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the slowing-things-down dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "In 20 cantons in Belgium's Flanders region, voting machines are x86 PCs from the DOS era, with two serial ports, a parallel port, a paltry 1 megabyte of RAM and a 3.5-inch disk drive used to load the voting software from a bootable DOS disk. A software bug in those machines is slowing the release of the results from yesterday's election, in which voters chose members of the regional, national, and European parliaments. The remaining voting machines, which are Linux-based, are unaffected, as were voters in the French-speaking Wallonia region of the country, most of whom use paper ballots."
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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

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  • Incorrect story (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @03:45PM (#47094329)

    While it is true that most of Wallonia votes with paper, all the places using e-vote in Wallonia and in Brussel are "affected" by the bug as well.

    "affected" with marks, as the actual problem happened with the software in charge of centralizing all the votes coming from these places. So the e-vote process had no actual problem, it's the counting afterwards that crashed.

    source: I live in Belgium, it's been all over the news here. I'll also add that I heard exactly zero reports about the same problem occuring in Flanders, but I might have overlooked some reports.

    disclaimer: I strongly oppose e-vote.

  • by joris.w (1003616) on Monday May 26, 2014 @04:38PM (#47094671)
    for a more accurate account of the facts, you could read http://datanews.knack.be/ict/n... [knack.be] (in dutch)
    the vote counting problem in Flanders was related to manual procedures in the Ghent area
    the DOS based e-voting system is used in Brussels, not Flanders
    as stated already in other comments: the DOS based systems did not fail, it was the central vote collecting system that failed
    lesson learned: If you want accurate reports, go to the source and don't rely on second hand reports
  • Re:Paper trail (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @04:50PM (#47094739)

    Continental UE has 3 timezones and results of the European elections were known the same evening. Actually, in some EU countries voting ends at 19 pm and first official (partial) results are ready to go on TV at 20pm. For European elections Italy votes until 10pm or something like that, first official results (for the whole EU) were delayed until after Italy finished voting. Citizens from overseas territories under EU jurisdiction voted few days before to avoid delays due to their timezone.

  • Re:Paltry (Score:5, Informative)

    by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Monday May 26, 2014 @05:55PM (#47095257) Homepage

    South Africa just did it that way and it works well. First you count the total ballots, still folded, then you count the votes and that way nobody can add other ballots in during the vote tally to make up numbers. No cellphones etc allowed in the hands of the counters, elections officials or party observers during the count.

    Got one addition to the process that we don't do. No results should be released from a polling station until every single station has finished counting and certified within the station. Forget this running TV tally and all that crap, if the numbers in each station remain secret until all stations are ready to report, then you can reduce the risk of "finding" additional votes in the trunk of a car.

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