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The Netherlands return to paper ballots and red pencils

'We do not trust voting computers' set out to ensure that the election process in our country would once again become as fraud resistant as it was before the advent of paperless voting computers. And that is what we got. On September 27, 2007 the Election Process Advisory Commission issued its 'Voting with confidence' report. The State Secretary for the Interior immediately announced that the 'Regulation for approval of voting machines 1997' will be withdrawn. On October 1, 2007 the District Court of Amsterdam decertified all Nedap voting computers currently in use in The Netherlands. The court order is a result of an administrative law procedure started by 'We do not trust voting computers' in March 2007. On October 21, 2007 the 'Regulation for approval of voting machines 1997' was finally withdrawn.

On May 16, 2008 the Dutch government decided that elections in the Netherlands will be held using paper ballots and red pencil only. A proposal to develop a new generation of voting computers was rejected.

The paperless voting computers had been creeping into our election systems since the mid-1980s, creating a deeply rooted everything-is-just-fine-with-them feeling. This made the task we had set ourselves that much more difficult. We examined the Dutch voting computer, the Nedap/Groenendaal ES3B previously in use in about 8 out of 9 poling stations, and proved it insecure. For political reasons, with general elections in the near future, the responsible Minister did not want to make the decision at that time. Although frustrating for us, he basically did the next best thing: two commissions were formed the first was to see who, if anyone, was to blame for the current debacle. The other would, effectively, determine if we were right and election systems in the Netherlands as flawed were as we had made them out to be. The first committee determined that, basically, no one in particular was to blame and everything concerning voting computers was wrong. The second, the Election Process Advisory Commission, issued its report which basically states that we were right all along and the system needed to be changed.

We are proud to have made this impact. Democratic Elections are Really Really Really important. Paperless voting computers enable election fraud on a frightening scale, a tiny group of people can throw elections in which ever way they want. Our initiative, which is one of many similar movements around the world, has removed that risk from our country. The Netherlands has joined the growing group of countries and US states that require a paper copy of each vote. California has basically rejected voting computers altogether. The UK election council wants to stop all electronic voting pilot projects. Ireland has rejected the Dutch voting computers for being too insecure. Quebec and Italy decided to forego the use of voting computers. In response to our research into the Nedap voting computers, Germany has begun to question their use as well. In many countries people are protesting against voting computers.

We are delighted the Election Process Advisory Commission shares our view: 'Voting with Confidence' does not include magic black boxes which count votes, but involves transparency which can only be achieved using paper ballots.

Elections without paper ballots are on the return worldwide.

Quick tour

90% Of all the votes in The Netherlands were cast on the Nedap/Groenendaal ES3B voting computer. With very minor modifications, the same computer is also being used in parts of Germany and France. Use of this machine in Ireland is currently on hold after significant doubts were raised concerning its suitability for elections. New York State is seriously thinking about buying 28.000 voting computers from Nedap, marketed in the USA as Libertyvote.

We were able to buy two Nedap voting computers from a Dutch municipality in the summer of 2006. This website shows how we found out how it works, how we wrote software for it and how - when given brief access to the devices at any time before the election - we can gain complete and virtually undetectable control over election results. It also shows how we discovered that radio emanations from an unmodified ES3B can be received at several meters distance and be used to tell who votes what. We have published the research results in our October 5, 2006 report: Pdf icon.png Nedap/Groenendaal ES3B voting computer, a security analysis.

The Adventures of Citizen Michael C. Robertson

We have created a short comic strip explaining the dangers of all black box voting technology, including computers.

Newsletter

Most of this site is in Dutch. But that does not mean that we believe that the problems our campaign deals with (or the solutions we found) are specifically Dutch. This page marks the humble beginnings of our attempts to offer some timely information about our campaign in English. Enter your e-mail address below to subscribe to the English-language campaign newsletter.

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Press

Our campaign has generated an enormous amount of media attention in the Netherlands and abroad. Here you find links to the news items in English, German and Dutch.

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