Ivan’s private site

May 28, 2012

Ups and downs of voting in France via the Web…

Filed under: General,Links — Ivan Herman @ 12:42
Tags: ,

First round of parliamentary elections in France. Starting this year, as a French expat, I can also vote via the Web. This is really great. So I did it today. However…

  • I start up the relevant Web page on my machine (Mac Lion, Safari; I am fairly meticulous to run the latest system updates). It turns out that the system uses Java; the first program the voting page runs in the browser (using, I think, JavaScript) is to check the system configuration. And this check (which lasts 2-3 minutes!) fails. I run Java version 1.6.0 on my machine, it looks like (although I am not sure) that it asks for 1.6.2. Does such a minor version make such a difference? I have difficulties to believe. But there is more: first of all, my system update does not report any new release; but the voting program also says something like “if you have updated to 1.7, which is the latest release, then this would not work”. The advise they give to users: (re)install manually 1.6.2 from Oracle’s site. (Remember: Java updates are also handled by Lion’s own update service, one never goes directly to Oracle…)
  • Give up on Mac, go to my wife’s machine (Windows 7, also kept up-to-date). Start up Firefox, it makes all the checks but… fails. It turns out that the Java plugin for Firefox was disabled: indeed, Firefox, at some of the previous updates, disabled it, because it had a security issue. Go to preferences, enable the plugin (to be disabled later). Hurray, it works, I could cast my vote!
  • My wife also wants to vote, of course. So…  restart the voting page on Firefox. Surprise: it replies that we do not have the right privileges to start up the page any more. FTH? Classical windows reaction: quit Firefox, and then restart it again. And it works… she could also vote.

I have only one question: are computers illeterates also supposed to vote on line, too? Or is it reserved for experts?

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