Dutch election votes to be counted by hand due to computer hacking fears

Photo: A J Luijten

All the votes in the March general election will be counted by hand to head off the risk of hacking via current computer software, home affairs Ronald Plasterk said in parliamentary briefing.

The minister’s decision follows claims by a computer security expert on RTL news that the vote counting system has vulnerabilities and could be manipulated if used on an old computer with an internet connection.

‘Both myself and the election council agreed that there should be no possible shadow of doubt [about the results], ‘ Plasterk said. It was important to take action immediately to head of the risk that confidence in the results of the March 15 is eroded, he said.




The vote counting software had been used for the past eight years to collate the regional and national results.

Russia

‘Now there are international indications that Russia, for example, may be interested in the election process, we have to go back to good old paper,’ Plasterk is quoted as saying by RTL.

On Wednesday it emerged that 31 parties will take part in the March 15 vote. Some 12.6 million Dutch nationals are eligible to vote in the election for a new 150 seat lower house of parliament.

According to the latest polls, it may take up to five parties to form a new government.


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