Re: beyond open-source: open-audit elections

From: Lillie Coney <coney_at_epic_dot_org>
Date: Tue Dec 12 2006 - 14:03:41 CST

Ben, thank you for your contribution to this discussion list.

I am in support of a stratified approach to securing electronic
voting systems, which should include the appropriate application
of cryptography. It is not enough to say that people in general
do not understand cryptography so it should not be used. If
people took this approach most technology and advancements
would have stagnated. Most people do not understand the
technology they use each day, but they come to accept it as
appropriate with increased familiarity and agreement among
recognized professionals.

What we do need as we look at new voting systems and
applications for elections is agreement among technologists.
Cryptography is a key component of the discussion and
should be part of the overall search for the right balance
of technological know how and the requirements for
election administration.

Thank you,
Lillie Coney

>Hi all,
>
>Alan Dechter asked me to participate in this discussion, and I thought I
>would begin by introducing myself. My name is Ben Adida, I'm a
>postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. I received my PhD in computer science
>from MIT, where I worked with Ronald Rivest on secure voting.
>
>A topic of significant interest in recent years is open-audit voting,
>which has typically been called "cryptographic voting," though that
>latter term identified the means rather than the ends. I prefer the term
>"open-audit voting." These protocols achieve true auditing by any
>observer of the entire voting process, from casting to counting.
>
>Proposals like VoteHere's MarkPledge, David Chaum's Punchscan, Peter
>Ryan's Pret-a-Voter, Josh Benaloh's simple verifiable voting, and a few
>others (including work I've done), achieve this level of auditing. Any
>organization or individual can directly verify the election, much like
>the auditing that was done in the early days of our democracy when all
>votes were "show of hands." Except, of course, with the added benefit of
>the secret ballot (which show-of-hands elections obviously don't have.)
>
>For those who haven't seen these proposals, they're extremely powerful:
>the level of public auditability is far greater than current systems,
>with or without a paper trail. In addition, the elections run with
>open-audit technology remain software-independent, as per the TGDC's
>latest requirement: you don't need to trust any piece of software.
>
>So why the lecture? Because I'm interested in finding out whether folks
>working with the Open Voting Consortium are interested in exploring
>open-audit solutions. What are people's thoughts?
>
>(I'm happy to provide in-depth explanations if there's interest, I just
>want to gauge interest first. For those who want to dig in immediately,
>here's a pretty good overview:
>
>http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20061104/bob10.asp
>)
>
>-Ben Adida
>ben@eecs.harvard.edu
>_______________________________________________
>OVC-discuss mailing list
>OVC-discuss@listman.sonic.net
>http://lists.sonic.net/mailman/listinfo/ovc-discuss

-- 
Lillie Coney
Associate Director
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Coordinator, National Committee for Voting Integrity (NCVI)
1718 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(p) 202-483-1140 x 111
(f) 202-483-1248
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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:11 2006

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