Ireland scraps electronic voting machines

The cash-strapped Irish government has announced that it is scrapping 5,000 eVoting machines it bought hoping to bring its elections into the 20th century by replacing pen and paper.

The Irish government has announced plans to dispose of electronic voting machines which have cost over €54 million in the hope of making a little bit of cash on the stuff up.

Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, told RTE he is hoping to sell the machines, which are largely useless for the purposes they were made for, but might be worth something as scrap.

It brings to an end a somewhat silly moves by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Michael Noonan and Fianna Fáil who pushed for the electronic voting machines. At the time they considered  paper balloting was no longer fashionable and wanted to get some technology involved in the process.

They were trialled in three constituencies in the 2002 General Election and a nation-wide roll-out had been planned ahead of European and local elections in 2004. But everything was put on hold after concerns were raised around the machines’ security.

It turned out that fixing the machines would be too expensive. The government tried to sell them but no other government was daft enough.

In October 2010, then Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the machines would be disposed of and various political wags suggested they would work well in Irish theme pubs throughout the world.

To be fair, we would have thought they would work well in Zimbabwe and the US state of Florida which like to hold… controversial elections.