Re: Hand-marked paper ballots [OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 28, Issue 29]

From: Hamilton Richards <hrichrds_at_swbell_dot_net>
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 23:43:43 CST

At 4:20 PM -0800 2007/2/15, wrote:
>Message: 1
>Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 13:31:59 -0800
>From: Ronald Crane <>
>Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Hand-marked ballots [Re: OVC-discuss
> Digest, Vol 28, Issue 26]
>To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> <>
>Message-ID: <>
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>Hand-marked ballots are not a panacea, just more transparent and more
>secure -- overall -- than machine-marked ballots. While both HMB and
>MMB are susceptible to local attacks, such that you describe,

No, my point was that MMB are NOT susceptible to these attacks.

>MMB are
>also susceptible to global attacks emanating from a few people at a
>vendor, testing lab, or state elections supervisor [1]. These attacks
>can affect many states at a time, instead of only a precinct or a
>county at a time. Some potential attacks on MMB are (1) presentation
>attacks (dropping candidates from ballot, rearranging ballot,
>modulating sensitivity of touch-screen depending on candidate, etc.);
>(2) denial- (or delay-) of-service attacks (which lengthen lines,
>causing selective vote loss); (3) ordinary misprint attacks (misprint
>ballot and bet on voter not verifying it, like most voters won't); and
>(4) ballot spoofing attacks (print ballot that looks fine to humans,
>but that is, e.g., registered so that it scans incorrectly).<br>
>Machines just shift the manipulation of voter intent from places that
>can be made relatively visible (like election judges' handling of
>"pregnant chads") to places that are almost entirely opaque -- the
>innards of the voting machines.

But every single one of the global attacks described above depend for
their success on escaping detection, and every one of them reveals
itself in ways that are bound to be detected-- not every time, but
often enough to make the fraud infeasible.

Contrast this with the threat of paperless DREs, in which vote counts
can be altered with absolutely no chance of detection.

All the best,


Hamilton Richards, PhD           Department of Computer Sciences
Senior Lecturer (retired)        The University of Texas at Austin      
OVC-discuss mailing list
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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:20 2007

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