Italy shows the doubt that electronic elections sow

The Independent and The Guardian are both reporting on how an at least partial recount of the Italian general election will be started in January.

Controversy first began when Berlusconi claimed rigging had cost him the election and it seemed like he might refuse to concede to Romano Prodi. The Italian legal system confirmed Prodi's coalition as the winners by around 27,000 votes. Hence the new Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, let Prodi form a government.

Then left-wing journalists released a DVD included with a magazine which alleged that Berlusconi had rigged the election using expertise from the USA (a new American export?) to change results during the electronic collation of regional results. In particular the number of blank (spoiled) ballots shows discrepancies when compared with the number and distributions seen in previous elections.

So the Senate elections committee has ordered a sample to be recounted. The Guardian reports that 700,000 ballots will be re-examined but that the process will not be completed until the end of Mr Prodi's term in 2011 – can it really take that long?

In the meantime, as previously noted, Italy has ruled out the further use of e-voting machines in elections.