Vulnerable voting software also to be used in Provincial States election

Woman casting her vote at an Amsterdam polling station, 21 March 2018
Woman casting her vote at an Amsterdam polling station, 21 March 2018. (Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times)

The Dutch voting software OSV will also be used in the Provincial States election on March 20th. Over the past years, multiple vulnerabilities have been found in the software.

In 2017 research by RTL Nieuws first identified vulnerabilities in the OSV. According to the broadcaster, hackers could abuse the software to influence the outcome of elections. Cyber security expert Sijmen Ruwhof went so far to say that "the average iPad is more secure than the Dutch voting system". Last year RTL Nieuws again investigated the software and found that it still contained dozens of vulnerabilities. 

In its annual report for 2018, the Electoral Council writes that the software desperately needs to be replaced, reports. The OSV has been used since 2009 to count votes and calculate results. The Electoral council states that "the security and software concept on which the OSV programs are based must be revised".

The Electoral Council is consulting with Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs about the necessary adjustments. The Minister hopes to have the new software ready in 2021, so not in time for the Provincial States election later this month. 

Last year the Electoral Council's budget was increased by 67 thousand euros, for implementing changes to the voting software.