However, I find many real dangers posed by the new system. It will be anything but transparent and, from the looks of some of the technical specifications quite insecure. The database used by the machines is MS Access 97 at best (for some reason, Ireland is deploying version 2.0 of the voting software in 2003 whereas versions as late as 2.9 were deployed in the Netherlands as early as 1997, so God knows what version of Access will be used).
Not only is the system insecure but its election results would also be unaccountable for. It leaves absolutely no paper-trail, so in the not-so-worst-case scenario of a cracker gaining access to the database, changing its contents and being noticed (worst-case scenario being if he isn't noticed), an election would need to be held again, resulting in total lack of confidence in the system and a probable overhaul of it.
Ireland is a country of only just over 4 million people. I feel the Government is implementing this new system just for the sake of upholding a reputation as a technologically advanced country (instead of putting their effort and money into developing a halfway decent communications infrastructure: broadband is only available in certain areas of big cities - not even all Dublin is broadband-enabled - and where it is available, broadband here is limited and incredibly expensive) when it is really not at all necessary. The ballot counting process adds excitement and an element of drama to the whole event. Voting using traditional ballot papers also gives the voter the extra choice, a choice which I believe is quite important, to spoil his/her vote. The electronic system will make no such allowance.
I'll only be 18 in March, and I really don't want to begin voting using an electronic system. In fact I don't particularly want to use any voting system, but especially not this one due to my concerns over its security and integrity. I haven't had a lot of time to research this topic in-depth due to exams which are looming over my head, but what I do know is that my worries are justified and not just a rash reaction to the prospect of change.
I'd like to know what other people out there think of the proposed system and indeed electronic voting in general - taking into account that being Irish, we always manage to make a mess of large scale projects especially when they are spearheaded by the Government.