Fears of election hacking spread in Europe

First the Netherlands, and now France in return to paper-based voting

IDG

IDG

France has followed the Netherlands in placing its faith in paper-based voting systems ahead of key elections later this year, following allegations that Russian hackers influenced last year's U.S. presidential election.

The French government will not allow internet voting in legislative elections to be held in June because of the "extremely elevated threat of cyberattacks." The move follows a recommendation from the French Network and Information Security Agency (ANSSI), it said Monday.

The move will only affect 11 of the 577 electoral districts voting, those representing French citizens living outside their home country. These expatriates had previously been allowed to vote over the internet in some elections because the alternative was to require some of them to travel vast distances to the nearest embassy or consulate with a ballot box.

It also only applies to the legislative elections to be held in June: The two rounds of presidential elections to be held in April and May were always expected to use paper ballots.

That decision, though, was for reasons of electoral equality, not cybersecurity. French rules require all citizens within an electoral district to have the same opportunities to vote -- although the opportunities can be different between districts. In the legislative elections, the districts each vote independently for one of the 577 representatives to the National Assembly, so the equality test is applied within each district.

In the French presidential elections, though, all voters are part of the same "district." There is no electoral college in France, so the president is elected directly by all citizens.

In the Netherlands, it wasn't the internet that posed a security concern but the use of software to add up counts of paper votes. Parliamentary elections will be held there on March 15.

Dutch Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said in early February that concerns about vulnerabilities in the automated counting software had prompted officials to decide to tally votes by hand.

Following the presidential election in the U.S., officials there have accused Russia of hacking computer systems of both major parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, but have not found evidence that the election vote itself was tampered with.

While some countries have favored electronic systems for their speed and modernity, paper ballots are still favored by most for their reliability, anonymity, and transparency. One aspect of the French voting system is quite literally transparent: the ballot box. That way, electoral observers can be sure that they have not been stuffed with votes before polls open.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?