Electoral Council: arrival of updated counting software for elections takes too long

The Electoral Council has published its annual report for 2018. According to the governing body, the software is outdated and the renewal announced for 2021 is actually taking too long.

In the annual report, the Electoral Council says that it has been arguing for years in favor of updating software called Supporting Software Elections, or OSV. According to the Electoral Council, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has previously announced that he will strive for ‘a new process of determining the result and new software required for this in 2021’.

The Electoral Council states that it is of the utmost importance to take the necessary steps to achieve this; the council says that it ‘would have liked to have had the new software sooner’ and that the software ‘needs to be replaced’. This observation is partly due to the ‘changed views on influencing elections by state actors’. The Electoral Council believes that the ‘security and software concept’ should be revised. The body is in consultation with the minister about this.

In the annual report, the Electoral Council also points out that technical improvements have been made to the OSV, which would have improved security. The IT company SQS Software Quality Systems wrote a review report about this in February 2018. The conclusion of this report was that the software ‘mainly meets the requirements’. However, a month and a half later, researcher Sijmen Ruwhof found the necessary serious leaks in the counting software. Those vulnerabilities surrounding the process of counting the votes have been known to the Electoral Council for years.

The software is now about nine years old and was first used in the European Parliament elections in June 2009. The software will also be used again during the upcoming Provincial Council elections.