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Accountants: CDA party leader election was full of mistakes

The party leader election at the CDA was so full of shortcomings that the party board could have designated ‘anything but a winner’. Two chartered accountants conclude this in a letter to the CDA board. The letter is in the hands of the political editorial staff of RTL Nieuws.

The letter has been in the possession of the board since the end of August, but it has not been publicized. The top election in which Hugo de Jonge narrowly won against Pieter Omtzigt was controversial from the start.

For example, the election had to be over because malicious parties could automatically cast false votes. In the subsequent elections, voters were found to receive thank-yous for a vote for a candidate they had not voted for.

Minced meat made

The party board had a flash investigation carried out by IT bureau CGI into these irregularities. That concluded within a day that Hugo de Jonge was the rightful winner of the study.

In their letter, the chartered accountants mince the results of that investigation. The chartered accountants are concerned citizens who have examined the CGI report online. They are not CDA members and see it as their ‘moral duty to share their findings. They want to remain anonymous, but their names are known to the editors.

For example, they are concerned that one person carried out the design, construction, testing and support of the ICT tool that arranged the digital election. According to them, this is ‘a very serious shortcoming’. ‘It means that guarantees in the organization that must ensure reliable outcomes are lacking,’ they write.

Tracks

The results of the election could have been checked because digital votes always leave ‘traces’. Those traces are in logs. But according to the CGI report, these logs no longer exist. They were destroyed immediately after the election

‘And so you can no longer determine whether the result actually reflects the voter’s wishes. Because you have to take into account that the process has been intervened, ‘says one of the accountants in a conversation with RTL Nieuws.

Little credible

This made it impossible to check whether data might have been modified. According to the party management, the logs have been deleted due to the sensitivity of the information. The accountants call this reason ‘not very credible’.

They find, just like CGI, that it is no longer possible to check whether voting data has been adjusted. This is a very unusual practice, according to the accountants. As a result, it is no longer possible to check whether the election results have been falsified or not.

A second point criticized by the accountants is that CGI writes that they treated the information they received ‘as truth’. According to the accountants, the essence of auditing is to test information independently. But that is not possible in this case, because the necessary data has been deleted “for reasons inimitable”.

Not a winner

The accountants advise the CDA board to conduct a further investigation into the deletion of the log files. And they conclude that the board could not have designated a winner.

In fact, the shortcomings are so serious that the ‘only appropriate’ thing is to initiate a new independent investigation and re-organize a top candidate election.

CDA response:

A spokesperson for the party said in a response: “We are aware of this letter and have answered it at the time. All substantive comments were already known and were part of discussions in the board and with the top candidates. The independent investigation we have initiated indicates answers the questions asked and confirms that no gross irregularities were found that would have had an impact on the outcome of the vote. We also gave this response when publishing the independent investigation on 26 August. ”

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