Re: Ballot Validation

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Sat Dec 11 2004 - 20:12:50 CST

On Dec 11, 2004, at 1:21 PM, Ken Pugh wrote:

> It appears that there are two basic approaches to electronic voting
> system.
>
> 1.) The printed ballot is supreme.
> Ballot may be filled in manually
> Ballot may be filled in by computer
> Ballot is tallied by scanner.
>
> 2.) The printed ballot is a receipt
> Ballot is filled in and tabulated on the computer
> Printed ballot is used for verification

There's another position that I think is superior to these two:

The electronic record and the printed record are both viewed as
fallible and subject to subversion. A hacker can hack into a
computer and corrupt data. A counterfeiter can print up counterfeit
ballots and swap them for the real ones. We can adopt technical
means to defend against either attack, but if we adopt laws that
say:

   In the event of a disagreement, the paper dominates.

Then all you need is a good counterfeiter, while if your rules say

   In the event of a disagreement, the electronic copy dominates.

Then, all you need is a good hacker. The rule I would prefer to
see says:

   In the event of a disagreement, an investigation must be initiated
   in order to determine which copy is most likely to be correct...

The rules could go on at length about what other things to
examine, such as pollbooks, event logs, exit polls, and other
evidence that could serve to corraborate one or the other copy.

                Doug Jones
                jones@cs.uiowa.edu

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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:10 2004

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