Re: Critical analysis of VoteHere

From: Clay Lenhart <clay_at_lenharts_dot_net>
Date: Sat Dec 20 2003 - 15:19:49 CST

This is good bye. I am leaving the group. I feel my energies are
better used elsewhere.

I appologize about the wiki remark. It is clear now what is going on.
I assumed the worse, but I see now that the wiki is merely a
documentation project on already decided issues.


On Sat, 2003-12-20 at 14:14, Alan Dechert wrote:
> Clay,
> > I think it would be more productive to point out the pros and cons of
> > various systems. Comments like these censor the discussion in attempt
> > to avoid defending an idea.
> >
> "Censor" is a bit harsh. I'm trying to focus discussion on core OVC goals.
> One of the main goals is to get a demo done. I understand and appreciate
> the desire to jump ahead and talk about issues for the production system.
> But I don't want to do that at the expense of the demo. Does this make
> sense to you, Clay?
> > > Secondly, it has very very little to do with our production system. It
> is a
> > > different system. It has pros and cons for sure. But the OVC is
> largely
> > > about how to deliver our voting technology to election boards. This has
> > > nothing to do with specifics about VoteHere technology.
> >
> > We shouldn't dismiss ideas without thought, especially when it has an
> > underlying tone of "If it's not my idea, it is not acceptable."
> >
> Something you may have missed, Clay. The OVC idea developed over a long
> period of time (over three years now). Some issues you are hearing about
> for the first time are things considered at length by our team long ago --
> long before OVC incorporation, long before our NSF proposal, long before
> CITRIS, long before our other proposals. Your charge about dismissing ideas
> without thought is extremely presumptuous.
> > We will produce better software if we abandon our egos.
> >
> Maybe. But the OVC will promote the OVC way. Does this surprise you? Even
> if we truly believed another technology was equal to ours, we would still
> promote ours over the others. However, after spending years developing the
> project, I don't think anyone has anything close to our project. The OVC
> represents a technology that is superior to all other voting systems --
> proposed or in use. The overall concept of the OVC is vastly more
> comprehensive than any other voting reform idea.
> > > Our system is very simple: You go to the computer and print your
> ballot.
> > > If it's the way you want it, you take it to the ballot box and put it
> in. I
> > > rate VoteHere somewhere along with Chaum's proposal. Would your Aunt
> Edna
> > > take comfort regarding "the production of a formal, cryptographic-based,
> > > mathematical proof that no ballots have been lost, forged, or added
> > > incorrectly, a concept that has no analog in the paper world."? The
> Uber
> > > Geek Society might do well with this system for voting for officers. I
> > > don't think it meets the Aunt Edna test for public elections.
> >
> > I am going to say it. I'm getting the impression that the off-list
> > security wiki is a ploy to avoid discussing these issues. Clearly these
> > things are finalized in Alan's eyes. (I hope I am wrong. Please let me
> > know otherwise.)
> >
> Feel free to say it, but it doesn't make it so. Your charge here is
> preposterous. The off-list security discussion is aimed at developing a
> comprehensive threat analysis. This is a large project that Amit has taken
> on. Formerly, the threat analysis was part of proposals for which we were
> seeking funding. One of the large-scale changes in this project is that we
> used to work on describing what we planned to do, and then we tried to get
> people to give us money to do the work. Now we're just plowing ahead and
> doing the work figuring the money will be there when we need it.
> > With the idea that these things are not finalized, I'll start with the
> > pros and cons of Alan's proposed system.
> >
> > Pros:
> > * Easy for party officials to understand what needs to be protected
> > (paper ballots and CDs).
> > * Party officials understand *well* the procedures to protect paper
> > ballots. This knowlegdge is useful for protecting CDs.
> >
> > Cons:
> > * Comparing paper ballots, CDs, and pub/priv key signatures: CDs take
> > less time to verify the electronic copy than paper ballots, but take
> > longer than pub/priv key signatures, b/c with CDs, you have to
> > physically move them to a location.
> > * CDs would not allow anyone to verify an election, while pub/priv keys
> > signatures have that opportunity. Allowing non-partisan individuals,
> > activists, and journalists verify the elections will lead to a safer
> > election.
> >
> Your analysis is extremely weak. You've set up a false dilemma between the
> "valid" (in your mine) security measures (e.g., pub/priv key signatures)
> and "invalid" ones (e.g., CDs and paper ballots). What has been repeatedly
> stressed by all the experts is that we should have multiple and redundant
> secuity measures.

Please. CDs and paper *can* validate the electronic copies, but not
anyone can use them to validate an election. Pub/priv key signatures
could allow *anyone* to validate an election.

> You have shown very little understanding or appreciation of the OVC idea.
> Your contribution to the discussion of the production system is mostly noise
> (once in a while you say something good). Your contribution to the demo
> project is absolutely nil.

suprise, suprise, you still are avoiding a discussion on this. This is
an ad hominem logical fallacy: I've said this before,
you rely too much on people's degrees, and not enough on what people

> You should take a moment to consider whether or not you want to help the OVC
> idea. Perhaps you'd like to work on and promote some other idea -- if so
> maybe you should figure out where that idea exists and go there.
> Alan D.

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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:16 2003

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