Re: open-audit elections

From: Ronald Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Wed Dec 13 2006 - 00:20:44 CST
Apropos my previous message, I have another motive for preferring paper voting systems to computerized ones. And that has to do with maintaining (and, if possible, increasing) citizen participation in government. As America has grown, our governments have become not just larger, but more distant [1]. We have, by and large, replaced citizen government with an expert administrative state. In some subject areas, this is substantially (or even overwhelmingly) justified, e.g., the FDA. But citizens need to be careful about the kinds of powers they delegate to government. In particular they need to be careful about delegating powers that can be used to determine the government's nature and policies. Thus we should, for example, jealously guard our freedom of the press, lest the press become a government organ used to perpetuate government policies irrespective of our views (or, worse, to propagandize us into loving a government that says, "Four legs good, two legs better!").

And primary among the powers we should not blithely delegate to government is the administration of elections. I view direct citizen audits, that can effectively be conducted using only citizens' native intelligence and common sense, as a powerful firewall against runaway government. Contrariwise, I view opaque voting systems, or voting systems whose auditing requires extensive expert input, as enablers for runaway government. I do not want to promote voting systems that can securely be used only when subject to a numbing retinue of tests, audits, verifications, and expert inquiries. I want voting systems that Joe (who barely graduated high school), Jane (who has some college), and Sigourney (who understands probability theory reasonably well) can come together to effectively audit.

-R

[1]
(and yet, paradoxically, more invasive)

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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:11 2006

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