Dutch minister for the interior Ronald Plasterk did not take any chances in the parliamentary elections
Photo: Dutch government
France has decided not to use electronic voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections in June. Similarly, the Netherlands have abandoned the electronic vote count in Wednesday’s elections.
Doubts about interference had been raised during the US presidential elections and threats of cyberattacks have been identified in both countries. The two countries with rising populist parties are making sure the elections will take place in the “best and safest way possible”, as the Dutch Embassy in Luxembourg has put it.
Counting by hand in the Netherlands
The Dutch vote in parliamentary elections on Wednesday, after a very polarising campaign led by the eccentric Eurosceptic, anti-Islamist Geert Wilders and his PVV.
The Dutch interior minister Ronald Plasterk had said in a letter to parliament on 1 February:
“I cannot rule out that state actors may try to benefit from influencing political decisions and public opinion in the Netherlands.”
The latest polls indicated that prime minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party is well ahead of Wilders’ PVV, with a significant rise for the GreenLeft party.
No electronic vote in France
The French national agency for information systems security (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d'information or ANSSI) has decided to abandon electronic voting in the parliamentary elections in June this year. Electronic voting has never been permitted for presidential elections.
“Theoretically, electronic voting is very advanced, but its implementation is complicated. In the end, we still have a server open to the world, which becomes a target. It is essentially an image risk. We can never be certain of the correct identification of voters, but what is more probable is that a major attack breaks the system, attacks its bases. This would have a terrible impact on the image of a functioning democracy.”
He cannot exclude either “any manipulations, like the publication of the names of those who voted for one or the other candidate.”
French citizens living abroad (in 2012, they were 700,000 who voted for 11 MPs) have to go back to the postal vote (the deadline to register is 14 April 2017), vote by procuration or go in person to an embassy. This decision has created an outcry among the 11 MPs who argued that these citizens will be de-motivated to vote.
As of this writing, the Russian embassy in Luxembourg had not returned Delano’s request for comment.