Show Sidebar Log in

Belgium willing to share open source voting software

One of the great benefits of using free and open source software is the manner in which it can be shared, modified and redeployed and the Belgian federal government certainly seems to have embraced this aspect.

Joinup, the EU’s public sector open source news site, reports today that the Belgian government is prepared to share its open source voting computer systems with other public administrations, according to an official at the Ministry of the Interior.

However, any requests for sharing will have to be formally approved by the Ministry and the requests themselves will also have to meet some conditions. The software will only be shared with government organisations responsible for organising elections.

The software will, of course, have to be adapted by other governments to meet their respective election arrangements. “Our software fits the Belgian federal and local election laws. And so the software will have to be adjusted thoroughly to the legislation of other countries, given the typical election regulations in each country,” the Ministry official declared.

Many of Belgium’s administrative regions have been using voting computers for years. Voting machines are used by default in the Brussels region and in many of the Flemish region’s polling stations.

The most recent generation of voting computers is based on Ubuntu Linux, running an election application that is tailored to each election. The voting machines have no hard disk and limited memory. The Ubuntu Linux operating system and lists of candidates are loaded from USB key.