Re: OVC-discuss Digest on "dumb scanners"

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Thu Dec 07 2006 - 09:18:35 CST

On Dec 7, 2006, at 1:26 AM, Marc Baber wrote:

> Even though this plan would allow someone to sell their vote, it is
> by no means a showstopper.

Ahem... That is by definition a show stopper. Moreover your
mechanism appears to make the process easier since it appears to
allow voters to add extra identifying marks. For example, since the
scanner blindly records all marks at all possible XY positions,
regardless of whether that particular ballot had a race at that
position one can use those as extraneous marking points. If that
were somehow corrected the fall back is to make extra marks
(overvotes) in the allowed positions to create a distringuishable
ballot. The final fallback method is to make unusual vote patterns
to make one's ballot distinguishable. All of these allow vote selling.

Widespread Vote by mail is I believe in general a poor idea since it
aids vote selling, rigging, and coercion.
However even if you disagree, vote selling is aided more by showing
your ballot After it has been cast rather than before. Thus
publishing raw ballots is a showstopper.

> In Oregon, we've used vote by mail for about 6-7 years now and
> there have been zero reported instances of coercion or vote-buying,
> according to our Secretary of State, even though voters have a two-
> week window between the time they receive their ballots at home and
> when the ballots must be returned to the Elections Division by mail
> or at drop-off locations. This is essentially the same as every
> absentee voting system in the country.
> I looked at the 2004 Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) on
> the web site to see how many instances of voter
> coercion and vote selling there were.

Oh come on... The whole reason there is little vote selling is
precisely because voters can't prove how they voted after the fact.
That's the exact problem publishing raw ballots creates.

> Out of over 40,000 incidents nationwide, there were only ten that
> involved vote buying, selling or coercion. None of these incidents
> involved absentee ballots and all of them involved regular voters
> at polling places.

Really None?: then how would you explain this one:

> I would propose dealing with the threat of vote-buying as follows:
> 1. Make sure both vote buying and selling are felonies with huge
> fines and long jail sentences and that all reported instances are
> investigated.

1) It would not be illegal for foreign powers to buy votes.
2) the system you propose will allow vote selling in a way that
cannot be proven after the fact. (one example: go to offshore web
site and get you special identifier extraneous mark pattern and
desired regular sold votes. Mark your ballot accordingly at the
poll. Go to other offshore website later after ballots are published
and see if you "won" free tickets to the bruce springsteen concert.
Since no one knows which ballot is yours in the stack it can't be
traced to you.)

> 2. Nonetheless, always provide amnesty and financial rewards for
> the "little fish" who come forward to turn in people who bought
> their vote.

It's not illegal for foreign powers to buy your vote. So turning in
vote buyers has no teeth.

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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:07 2006

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