Re: code validation?

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Thu Feb 24 2005 - 23:39:15 CST

On Feb 24, 2005, at 9:24 PM, Edward Cherlin wrote:

> On Wednesday 23 February 2005 13:33, Ron Crane wrote:
>> On Feb 23, 2005, at 10:50 AM, David Mertz wrote:
> [snip]
>>> Just one scenario:
>>> (1) Thug/Crime boss goes around to all the houses in the
>>> neighborhood, and tells each resident that he would "really
>>> appreciate" a vote for him as mayor (what a pretty family
>>> they have too). He suggests they can further discuss their
>>> votes later.
>>> (2a) Absentee system: Voter seals ballot in envelope at time
>>> (election minus N). If no assistant thug is watching them,
>>> they will perhaps vote for Ms. Honesty-Integrity instead.
>>> In subsequent conversation, they can *tell* Mr. Crime-Boss
>>> they voted for him (need good poker face, maybe).
>>> (2b) Vote receipt system: Voter votes at polls and takes
>>> home magic code number. No assistant thug is watching. At
>>> some (any) subsequent time, Mr. Crime-Boss visits voter and
>>> says he would be very curious to see voters receipt.
>>> The latter system provides much greater scheduling
>>> convenience for vote coercers (or buyers who want proof
>>> too).
>> Ah, point well taken. Now, is there any way to address it? An
>> encryption-based approach [1] solves that problem, but
>> re-introduces the very security hole we're trying to fix, plus
>> it makes verification much more time-consuming. I've got to
>> think more deeply about alternatives. What if we simply
>> increased the penalties and enforcement for vote coercion?
>> Would that be an effective use of law? My tendency would be to
>> say, "mostly". Why? Because most people understand vote
>> coercion, agree that it's possible, and agree that it's wrong.
> Mostly not effective. Insanely hard to prosecute, and you only
> get the little fish. In order to overturn a "bought" election,
> you have to prove enough vote buying to change the result.

I put next to no hope in overturning corrupted elections via the legal
process. It just doesn't happen because the desire for finality wins
out. But the question is, what penalties (if any) for vote coercion
will buy enough deterrence to make the additional security provided by
EEVV worthwhile? This question is very hard to answer quantitatively. I
wonder if anyone even has good numbers on how much vote coercion
occurs, and whether it's greater in states with all-mail elections
(e.g. Oregon) than in states with mostly-poll elections.


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Received on Sun Feb 27 17:17:13 2005

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