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Chaos Computer Club takes legal proceedings against the voting computer in Hesse

2008-01-07 00:00:00, webmaster

With the aid of a voter in Hesse, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has filed for an injunction with the State Supreme Court of Hesse against the use of voting computers in the forthcoming state election.

The use of the insecure NEDAP voting computer which has proven to be susceptible to manipulation is not contested in Hesse only.

By taking this step, the CCC is attempting to bring about a voting procedure that is reliable and plausible for all voters before the state elections on 27th January. Recourse to the court has become necessary since the Hesse state government evidently does not have the required expert knowledge to understand the technical security and transparency flaws of the voting machines, nor the will to act accordingly.

Following the issue, on 6th December, of the use permit by the Hesse Ministry of the Interior, only eight cities and districts have decided to allow voters to vote with the computerized voting system. The voters of Alsbach-Hähnlein, Bad Soden, Lampertheim, Langen, Niedernhausen, Niestetal, Obertshausen and Viernheim being forced to entrust their votes to the questionable computers.

There is a growing resistance stirring among the population against the use of the NEDAP voting computer, known to be vulnerable to manipulation, said CCC spokesman Dirk Engling. After a virtually identical voting machine from the same manufacturer was recently completely rejected in the Netherlands, more and more concerned citizens have turned to the CCC. The voters do not understand why the same rejection cannot also be drawn in Germany. The legal path which has now been chosen is the last chance to save the transparency of the elections in Hesse. [1], [2]

With the CCC's authoritative support, an application for an injunction has therefore been submitted to the Hesse State Supreme Court to prohibit the use of the computer-assisted voting procedure.

Following the publication of press releases and discussion in scientific publications of the severe weaknesses of the NEDAP Voting Computers, the Hesse Ministry of the Interior has decreed the use "security measures" that do not address the fundamental problems with the voting machine system.

The CCC has watched these attempts to patch a broken system in December at a test election in Alsbach-Hähnlein.

"The new security measures planned in Hesse which should prevent election fraud can only be seen as a time-wasting and expensive foolish act." commented Engling. The voter doesn't know if software or hardware has been manipulated. Some counties in Hesse have decided not to participate in the test elections and storage procedures and have gone back to the paper based voting system. Others have given up the use of voting computers citing financial or reliability reasons.

Thousands of anxious citizens have supported the CCC initiative, which is financed by the Wau Holland Foundation. We were surprised that not only have 45,000 people joined the petition to dispose of voting computers, but also that many of them chose to financially support the campaign against the voting computer, said Engling [3], [4].

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