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Nedap ES3b voting computer

The precise machine that 90% of The Netherlands votes on.

The Nedap in all its glory
Back side of setup
Detail of front panel

As you can see to the left of the 4 x 40 character LCD-display there is a small lid that, when opened, exposes a 16 key keyboard. The main key panel consists of a large number of foil keys sitting underneath the printed sheet that lists parties and candidates. To the left of the display (and the normally hidden 16-key keypad) are buttons for 'Herstel' (Correction) and 'Blanco' (a null vote). To the right is the large red vote confirmation button. The printed button all the way to the bottom right of the foil overlay is (according to the manual) a 'floating confirm button' that mimicks the red button for those in wheelchairs that cannot reach all the way up.

Detail of space on back side underneath front panel
With the plastic covers removed

The back side has a triangularly-shaped void with a three-piece plastic cover on the bottom. The right side comes off without any screws and is merely covvering a storage space that holds the power cord, the voting-official control box and cable plus clamps for an optional backup car-style-battery. The left side is screwed on, except for a small sliding piece in the middle that covers the paper feed for the built-in thermal printer as well as the slot for the vote memory module.

Metal lid of inner box removed
Detail of printer control board

If we look all the way inside the metal box underneath the plastic cover, we see the mainboard, two power supllies plus a starter for the fluorescent light that lights the front panel and a printer control board. It has its own EPROM. We would probably have assumed the printer asembly was bought elsewhere except that the EPROM on that board said Nedap on the sticker, so we dumped this also.

Reader-writer unit

The reader-writer unit
Showing the insides

This is the unit that writes the names of the candidates and the number of the polling station to the memory modules, and (after the vote) reads out the votes stored in the modules. The reader-writer unit has el-cheapo key locks that in one position mechanically prevent a memory module from being inserted in the slot underneath. One slot is always used for reading, one is always used for programming (writing). The keys can be extracted in either position. There is a serial cable attached to the box on one end, and to a DB-25 RS-232 connector on the other. A BB-25 to DB-9 converter was included in the box. The box also sports a small red LED and a Euro 220V power connector.

front of mainboard
back of mainboard

Since the mainboard inside is the same as in the voting computer and so much easier to remove, we used it for most pictures. The software we found on it was ES3B (the same as in the voting computer) except this was version 2.11 instead of 2.12.


One set of keys
Close-up showing different production methods

Our devices came with two sets of two identical keys. One set on a yellow tab, the other on a green tab. Both tabs are marked "Uitleesapp." (reader) in handwriting. The keys on the green tab fit both locks on the voting computer and the 'Uitlezen' lock on the reader-writer unit. The keys on the yellow tab only fit the 'Programmeren' (Programming) lock on the reader-writer unit. Barry's expert eye quickly noticed that the 'green' keys are nickled over, meaning they were mass-produced with the cuts already made, whereas the 'yellow' keys are cut from a blank, either by Nedap or because these were extras keys that the users made. Both keys are probably the same all over the country.

The read/voting computer lock is a standard key lock which only comes with one type of key. Here's the Pdf icon.png datasheet. Click here if you want to order your own high-security Nedap keys. As if you needed keys for locks like this...

Vote memory modules

Front of memory module
Back of memory module

Front of memory module board
Back of memory module board

The vote memory modules are used both for sending lists of parties and candidates to the voting computer and for transferring the votes back to the PC running ISS. A module consists of a small circuit board with two flash chips, wedged between two blue plastic shell pieces that snap together through the holes in a very simple two-layer board. The connector is a DIN-41612 using only the outer two of the three visible three rows of holes. There is no write-protection mechanism on the module. One module we got is empty, the other one still contains 962 votes from the previous election.

ISS software

"Integraal Stemsysteem - Gemeente module - Versie G-5.00 (GR-2006) - Build 2005-00104"
ISS Handleiding Gemeenten.pdf (396 kB)
The user manual for the software and the entire procedure with the voting computers (dutch)
Setup.exe (14.6 MB)
The software itself.
I-Module.pdf (230 kB)
Manual for the Internet module: publishing the results in the Internet.
Dotnetfx.exe (23.1 MB) - download from microsoft
Microsoft .NET framework (Optional install: flashy graphics)
Wijzigingen Iss Gr-2006.doc (64 kB)
The changes for this version

GR is short for Gemeenteraad, meaning this version is specifically for the past municipal elections of March 2006.