Re: Critical analysis of VoteHere

From: David Jefferson <d_jefferson_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Sat Dec 13 2003 - 11:50:51 CST

David Mertz wrote:

> But if the mapping remains a bit hidden, then there's not a
> lot of meaning to the 1-800 "verification". It shows that the
> ballot->vote mapping is stored, sure; but how does a voter
> know that really gets counted as the candidate they want.
> Basically, the only assurance given at this point is
> procedural, not individual: The computer systems,
> chain-of-custody, etc. are configured properly--and checked by
> poll watchers--to assure the 1-800 system works correctly.
> It just pushes the procedural reliance back a step, rather
> than increase the individual verifiability.

The VoteHere system is composed of two parts, one on the front
end to guarantee that the vote is accurately captured, and the
other on the back end to guarantee that all votes are accurately
counted and no votes are lost or forged. So far your
conversation is only about the front end, and I think we can
agree the ability to call back and determine that they have a
record of your vote does indeed prove that your vote was at
least accurately captured by the DRE software.

The back end consists of a cryptographic system that outputs a
formal mathematical proof that the votes were added correctly,
that all were included, and none were forged. The proof is
checkable by anyone.

The VoteHere people have extraordinary technical depth, and
their work is well worth study even if you do not plan to
implement any of it. In my opinion they are the only vendor out
there doing any original research on the election security
problem, and the mathematician, Andy Neff, is absolutely first
rate.

David

David
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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:09 2003

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