Tag Archives: Elections

DOS computer system bug halts Belgian election results

voting-bug

A computer system that’s roughly as old as the first Secret of Monkey Island computer games is currently drawing out the excitement of the recent Belgian European, federal and regional elections.

The country used an e-voting system for the election – an e-voting system using DOS era hardware and software. I kid you not.

“The voting machines in question 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,” IT World reports.

Even though the system is roughly as old as Asterix’ village, the real issue seems to be a bug in the voting software. The bug caused “incoherent” election results when trying to add up preferential votes.

“The fault appeared in the system despite the fact that the application was especially developed for these elections, was “tested thousands of times” and was certified by PriceWaterhouseCoopers,” ministry spokesman Peter Grouwels said.

You’d expect the certification to be written in stone….

Belgium – the country of chocolate, comics…and computers from the crustacean period.

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First French electronic election full of security holes

The first ever electronic election held in France relied on voting systems hailed as ‘fraud proof’ and ‘ultra-secure’ that turned out to be anything but.

The systems were used for the Paris town hall primary election, held this weekend, but the results of the election are questionable, after journalists from a news site proved just how easy it was to fool the system and vote several times by simply using different names.

To be eligible to vote, Parisians had to make a credit card payment of three Euro to a certain account and give the name of someone on the electoral roll.

One of the journalists who beat the system said that he had managed to vote five times, using just one credit card – once giving his name as ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’.

So someone in the French government invented a system that charges you money to exercise your democratic right, and has less security measures than a C64 game – at least you needed pirate groups to hack those. Mind you, that was back in the late 80s, so it’s no wonder we haven’t progressed that far since then….