Re: voting ballot receipts

From: Jerry Lobdill <lobdillj_at_charter_dot_net>
Date: Thu Dec 07 2006 - 09:33:11 CST

Marc,

It may not be a showstopper to you, but to many in many states it IS
a showstopper.

If you insist on this feature of your voting-system-in-a-box I
predict it will be rejected. Your arguments for it are unrealistic.
If you don't think employers won't use this feature to force
employees to vote their way please explain why they successfully
force their managers to donate to their PACs that go to support
Republican candidates. This is in no way a red herring.

Jerry Lobdill

At 09:07 AM 12/7/2006, you wrote:

>Charlie, this is not a show stopper at all.
>
>First, although I would propose that the ballots have serial numbers
>so voters themselves could verify that their votes were recorded as
>they were cast, the serial numbers are never recorded anywhere in
>association with the name or personally-identifying information of
>an individual, so voter privacy is assured unless the voter him or
>herself chooses to divulge the information. My personal position is
>that you'll never really be able to guarantee people that their
>votes are recorded as they were cast, until you give them a way to
>verify for themselves, individually, that their own votes were, in
>fact, recorded and counted as they were cast. And, to me, that
>means providing a way to check and verify their vote after it has
>been cast and counted.
>
>The publishing of raw ballot data on the web, giving the voter the
>ability to look up their own ballot is the best way, in my opinion,
>to make this guarantee meaningful. No other plan even comes close to
>this level of assurance of democracy.
>
>Even though this plan would allow someone to sell their vote, it is
>by no means 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 verifiedvoting.org web site to see how many instances of voter
>coercion and vote selling there were. 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. In one
>instance, a poll worker was giving voters slips of paper after they
>voted and telling them where to go to get their $50. So, it would
>seem that poll workers, in league with paymasters, are a bigger
>threat of vote-buying.
>
>Although vote-buying is the most commonly raised objection to the
>plan I've proposed, there is no evidence that it happens in
>significant numbers at all. It is, essentially, a non-existent
>problem like voter fraud.
>
>With power comes responsibility. In the U.S. we sell people guns,
>knives, bows and arrows, swords, explosives, chemicals, poisons,
>gasoline and many other lethally dangerous weapons and
>materials. In general, we trust each other not to abuse these
>things, but just in case, we have laws for punishing individuals who
>do abuse such weapons and materials to harm others. We are a
>country that insists on freedom AND personal responsibility for
>individuals at the core of our culture, if not in every anecdotal instance.
>
>Thus, I would submit that the real freedom of voting must be
>guaranteed with individual verification, even if there is a risk of
>vote-selling. Like murder and assault, vote buying, selling and
>coercion are crimes that can happen today but are very very
>rare. They are also felonies.
>
>Some would object saying, "but when it's in no one's interest to
>report vote buying, selling and coercion, no one will". In the case
>of voter coercion, the argument fails because any disgruntled
>employee or ex-abused-spouse would probably be all to happy to turn
>in their former boss or spouse as vote coercers.
>
>But there could be some truth to that objection in the case of vote
>buying/selling. 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.
>
>2. Nonetheless, always provide amnesty and financial rewards for the
>"little fish" who come forward to turn in people who bought their
>vote. If the vote-buyer is, in turn, willing to cooperate and
>reveal names of wholesale vote buyers above him/her, same story:
>amnesty and rewards. In this way, there could be a very large
>incentive to turn in vote-buyers. This policy would have a very
>chilling effect on solicitations to buy votes, especially in our era
>of shirt pocket video cameras. A vote buyer will know that the
>voter, who is desperate enough in November for money to sell their
>vote will likely be desperate enough for money in December to turn
>them into the police.
>
>In short my opinion is that the issue of vote-buying is a red
>herring that keeps us from proposing any system that gives us real
>verification of our own votes and creates an atmosphere of secrecy
>in which far worse abuses are thriving. The plan I propose would
>solve the vast majority of the other 39,990+ problems in the EIRS
>database. I think we need to go with a plan that solves those real problems.
>
>Thanks for reading,
>
>Marc

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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:07 2006

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