Ballot disclosure and vote anonymity/coercion

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sat Dec 13 2003 - 20:17:18 CST

"Alan Dechert" <> wrote:
|Maybe I didn't make this part clear. You only get to print the duplicate
|ballot(s) after the polls close, the ballot reconciliation procedure
|completed, the electronic files transmitted, the precinct tally posted

OK. That answers my first issue. But it is possibly discriminatory
against voters who would WANT a copy of their ballot, but whose schedule
only allows them to vote early. Maybe that doesn't matter--getting the
copy wouldn't seem to be a legal right. But it does seem odd to have
priviledges like this tied to work schedules.

|> (2) If the write-in candidates appear in the disclosed XML files, the
|> Coercers could demand that a voter both vote a certain way on race A,
|> and write-in a specific value "Foobar57" on race X

|That's a good point. Probably the xml files should be taken from the pile
|created from the barcode scan. Probably the write-in names should be
|suppressed in the published votes unless there is a significant percentage
|of write-ins in any given contest.

Maybe. But even here, there is a lot of potential identicatory data in
the non-coerced portions of the ballot.

For example, maybe the Coercers demand that a voter Jones vote Socialist
for Prez, and then also rank the County Commissioners in a specific
order. On our demo, it looks like there are 8! possible total (valid)
ranked orders. Actually, slightly more since not all ranks need be
used. That's enough that it is HIGHLY unlikely ANY other voter in the
precinct (especially one with a Socialist presidential vote) gives that
exact order.

Obviously, in this scenario, Coercers are choosing an order at random--
they don't CARE about the CC race. But they order Jones to vote
"8,1,3,2,4,7,5,6" and Smith to vote "2,4,5,3,8,6,7,1", etc. to track
each individual coerced voter.

Now that I think of it, this is potentially a problem in disclosing
ballots at all, quite apart from the after-close-printing. If the bad
guys can go to a web site the next day to look at the complete XML
ballot set, they can see whether ANY ballot contains:

    Prez: Socialist; ...; CC: 8,1,3,2,4,7,5,6

If not, Jones gets roughed up.

Yours, David...

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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:10 2003

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