Re: Microsoft-backed Consortium, AeA, Opposing Open Voting Bill, AB 852

From: Hamilton Richards <hrichrds_at_swbell_dot_net>
Date: Thu Apr 26 2007 - 11:42:03 CDT

At 9:16 PM -0700 2007/4/25, ovc-discuss-request@listman.sonic.net wrote:
>
>Message: 6
>Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 00:16:31 -0400
>From: "Nathan L. Adams" <nadams@ieee.org>
>Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Microsoft-backed Consortium, AeA, Opposing
> Open Voting Bill, AB 852
>To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>Cc: OVC Announce <alan@openvotingconsortium.org>
>Message-ID: <4630279F.3090509@ieee.org>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
>Summary: "Code review will never be perfect, so why bother?"
>
>Lame.
>
>Nathan
>

Suppose you undertake the most thorough possible review of a
printerless DRE's code, and every flaw you discover is corrected.
Would you then trust it to count the votes correctly? If so, then
logically you should oppose the calls for OVC-style ballot printers.

If you (like me) believe that even after an exhaustive code review
ballot printers would still be necessary, what would have been gained
by the code review? Better code, presumably, but --strictly from the
point of view of *knowing* that it counts votes correctly-- still not
good enough.

Note that I'm in no way opposing code reviews. They're great for
improving code's quality. It's just that they can never deliver the
assurance that all the bugs have been found, and without such an
assurance the code can't be trusted.

There's an ethical issue here. If we justify our demands for public
disclosure by claiming that this will enable us to prevent
vote-counting fraud, we're being just a tad dishonest.

There's also a practical issue. If public disclosure becomes law, how
will we handle the argument, "OK, now you can inspect the code, stop
bothering us about ballot printers. ... Oh? Ballot printers are still
needed? Then what was all that fuss about public disclosure?"

Cheers,

--Ham

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Received on Mon Apr 30 23:17:14 2007

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