Re: Critical analysis of VoteHere

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Sat Dec 13 2003 - 13:35:56 CST


> "receipts don't work or allow coercion".
The scheme I originally proposed (I handed David Jefferson a copy in person
17 Jan 2001) included a method for the voter to prove their vote privately
(by checking over the Internet). By Mar 2001, a lot of people liked this
feature but I dropped it since it was not an essential feature of my system
and too many [important] people didn't like that feature.

FYI, there has been a link to my draft of this idea at Lorrie Cranor's site
for almost 3 years.

direct URL is here:

If you provide a way for the voter to prove their vote, it's not enough to
make it so that only the voter has the key to verification. It's a problem
if someone else knows you *can* prove your vote. A dominant
head-of-household could demand that a subordinate vote a certain way and
prove it (e.g., "If you want to continue living in this house, you'd better
vote this way and I want to see it!").

It could also be a problem with employers. This could be countered somewhat
with stiffer penalties for vote coersion, but this might not be adequate.
Suppose you work for Wade's Chicken Manure and Wade calls you into a meeting
and says, "You'd better vote no on Measure C or else! I know you can prove
your vote and I want to see it." Stiff vote coersion penalties might mean
that you could put Wade out of business, but if you are struggling to get by
and Wade is also struggling to get by, the only consequence might be that
both you and Wade are left with no money and no income if you blow the
whistle on Wade.

We could easily add (or re-add) vote proving capabilities to the OVC system.
As I concluded almost three years ago, I am still convinced that this is not
something we should try to sell right now. It's not worth getting mired in
that controversy -- the features we are advancing are more important We
can leave open the possibility, and could always add "active audit" (I think
that's what Arnie calls it) if adequate safeguards against coersion exist in
the election code and in society in general.

--Alan D.
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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:09 2003

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