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CBS plays catch-up: Electronic Voting Causing Concern

Discussion in 'Legal' started by jimpeel, Jan 3, 2004.

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  1. jimpeel

    jimpeel Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Kimball, NE

    There is also a video at the webpage but I don't know how to link to it

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2004
  2. tyme

    tyme Member

    Dec 19, 2002
    Paper trails are virtually useless IMO. If they're reasonably tamper-proof, "electronic voting" becomes merely selecting your candidate on a touchscreen and having the ballot printed out, to be re-counted by a machine if there's a question about the validity of the vote counts. This is pretty much how things are done today AFAIK, except the mechanism by which the ballots are created. Doing mandatory paper-trail printouts that way eliminates one major benefit of electronic voting: no printing costs. it isn't cheap to print 10 million ballots. And of course there would be hardware failures resulting in some precincts having to have poll workers manually verify votes, which violates privacy issues and allows the mob to buy votes... Organized criminals could sabotage the ballot printing machine and bribe the poll worker to confirm that various people voted for the "correct" candidate.

    There are some fringe schemes that have been cooked up (using hashes/crypto) that provide some level of assurance that your vote was counted by giving you a hash receipt of your vote, generated in such a way that you can verify your vote was counted properly when the election generates the final result (vote totals plus a hash that verifiably includes your hash, and the grand total hash verifiably produces the vote counts). I don't recall exactly how this worked but I can track down information on the scheme if anyone's curious. Unfortunately, TPTB are technophobic. You can bet that one mention of hashes and they'd be asking why the proposal gives drugs to voters.
  3. Jim March

    Jim March Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    SF Bay Area
    I'm aware of (and approve of) the Australian electronic system - totally open-source, download the code and check out it's honesty, plus it's built on Linux. Runs on old scrap Pentium 200s or similar for dirt-cheap terminals. No paper trail.

    I actually agree that with totally open-source software that can be checksummed in the field to make sure it's the "known honest stuff", a case can be made that paper trails aren't necessary, so long as there's enough tamper-resistant features in place that the county-level elections officials can't booger it.

    BUT: with the current trend towards closed-source voting applications by ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia and the like, WE NEED PAPER. Paper that can be hand-counted will act as a deterrant to mass-scale fraud.

    Even that has limits though: the known "user error rates" of MOST voting systems range from 1% to 4%, so as long as you vote-hack within the known error rates, fraud won't be provable as such. "Micro-scale vote hacking" is still a problem because done consistently, it can change the balance of power in the legislature or even throw a Prez race.

    And we know that at LEAST one of the major voting systems has totally dishonest software: Diebold. Dear GOD what a mess :barf:.

    http://www.equalccw.com/voteprar.html - if you're just starting out in this issue, read my letters to the California SecState for a reasonably quick intro.
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