Preventing inadvertent compromising of voter privacy.

From: David RR Webber <david_at_drrw_dot_info>
Date: Sun Dec 10 2006 - 10:23:21 CST

There's a lot easier way. Just have an observer note the time the voter
places their ballot in the ballot box and it was scanned in. Just about
every voting system I've seen has some way of determining event sequencing -
from date/time stamping to sequence things are written to the hard drive or
records into a database, or worse - record key values. I've raised this as
an issue before - that for truly anonymous voting you need to ensure random
recording of the digital artifacts. Not so easy to do. Requires write
caching and similar - e.g. create a pool of records and either database
entries and/or OS file handles ahead of time in a cache - randomly select
the next one to use from the cache and update it - then do another random
update at some later time - to avoid database internal time-stamping - and
then get another "batch of handles" - when balloting finishes - close any
pending updates - then any unused ones should be deleted. This should be
the sort of thing the EAC is doing guidelines for...

It may not be a big deal in a precinct with 10+ voting stations - but in a
small rural one with just one voting machine...


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Subject: OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 26, Issue 21

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   1. Re: OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 26, Issue 20 (Jerry Lobdill)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 14:53:19 -0600
From: Jerry Lobdill <>
Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 26, Issue 20
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Thanks, Charlie. I agree with you. I think this issue is really a non-issue
from a practical point of view. Even if it does eventually become somehow
feasible from a resolution point of view I think the requirement for a UV
bulb in the scanner makes this impractical.

Can we put this to rest now?

Jerry Lobdill

At 02:00 PM 12/8/2006, you wrote:
>Reply-To: charlie strauss <>,
> Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> <>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
>Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] latent fingerprints
>Message: 2
>First I think this worrying about fingerprints issue is edging
>towards the realm of fume huffing. If I wanted to know which
>ballot was yours , I could figure out ways a lot simpler than finger
>print analysis. e.g. just give them a bag of polonium porkrinds before
>they go in the polls. On the less fantastic side, I've got bags of
>microtag poweder sitting in my desk drawer (it's used to tracably
>serial number mark everthing from gunpowder to designier
>jeans: it looks and acts like fine soot till you put it under a
>microscope--then you see a colored plastic bar code). it would be
>easy to get this onto someones hands. Or, even more
>realistically, i'd just edge mark the ballots ahead of time: draw
>a fine diagonal line across the edges with a magic marker--then I could
>always recreate the ballot order later.
>However taking it as a challenge to somehow scan fingerprints....
>First the kind of blunt instruments in use for oval scanners wont have
>the resolution. But since some folks want to replace those with high
>resolution scanners, then one approach might be to use a
>UV fluorescent light in the scanner. Finger prints exhibit some
>weak phosphorescence. Unfortunately most white paper also contains
>"whiteners" that are fluorescent as well so there's going to be a
>signal to noise issue. You might be able to boost that some if you had
>a way to pulse the illumination and time-gate the optical signal. But
>that would be one heck of piece of scanner hardware. If you selected
>the whitener carefully you might be abled to have it quenched by the
>finger print oil itself.... Or better yet, don't order ballots that
>are naturally fluorescent.
>perhaps a better approach would be to give the person a slighty leaky
>pen and assume they would get it on their fingers.

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