Re: Ballot Validation

From: Edward Cherlin <cherlin_at_pacbell_dot_net>
Date: Fri Dec 17 2004 - 02:50:27 CST

On Saturday 11 December 2004 06:12 pm, Douglas W. Jones wrote:
> 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.

I would go further still. A full forensic investigation must be
required for any but the most trivial errors, in keeping with
the basic principles of statistical quality control. You have to
measure and correct even small deviations before they become
large enough to threaten outcomes.

The results of an investigation should then be taken to court for
action by a judge. Candidates, political parties, and the public
should have standing to initiate legal actions, not just
government officials. Actions resulting from the court trial
could include permission to certify the results, corrective
actions, further investigation, and criminal charges against
election officials, vendor personnel, or political party
operatives found to have violated the public trust and specific
provisions of law.

I have heard of hardly anybody going to jail or even to trial for
messing with an election, apart from the incompetent Watergate
burglars, including Gordon Liddy. Donald Segretti did get
misdemeanor convictions for illegal campaign literature. The
rest of the charges were for the coverup. Certainly "Landslide"
Lyndon Johnson and Mayor Richard "vote early and vote often"
Daley of Chicago were never in danger of prosecution.

Maybe it's because vote fraud is like treason.

"Treason never doth prosper. What's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

> Doug Jones
> jones@cs.uiowa.edu
>
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-- 
Edward Cherlin
Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy and more
"A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
--Alice in Wonderland
http://cherlin.blogspot.com
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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:17 2004

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