Just six weeks before voters went to the polls, the Government of the Republic of Ireland was forced to withdraw its plans for the country s first all-electronic elections, and revert to the traditional paper-based ballot, at a substantial cost to taxpayers. The proposed system had been criticised on many counts by commentators, politicians, and the independent Commission on Electronic Voting. Accessibility was never a requirement in the procurement of the system, which turned out to be inaccessible to many users with disabilities; the right to accessibility is not enshrined in Irish law, and disability rights in general are not protected. This is in contrast with the situation in the United Kingdom, where all e-voting initiatives must ensure compliance with legislation. This paper examines how, by failing to take into account the needs of a substantial portion of the electorate, the Irish Government s e-voting implementation is no more democratic than the traditional paper-based method, and may even pose additional barriers to full participation in the democratic process.
|Journal||Information Technology and Disabilities|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2004|