Re: A generic best practice document for NewMexicolegislators

From: laird popkin <lairdp_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jan 03 2005 - 09:59:45 CST

While I understand Doug's logic, I am concerned that having both the
digital and physical records equally "true" is too ambiguous. There's
a clarity to saying that "the paper ballot is the real vote, the
digital record is for efficient processing". Of course, if there's a
good reason to question the paper ballots (forged, altered, destroyed,
etc.) then the digital record can be used to resolve the situation.

Part of my thinking is that digital records are much easier to alter
than physical ballots, and that there's a much longer track record in
securing physical records, detecting alterations, etc., than for
digital records, so at this point I just trust paper more than
electrons. So if we have to pick between two different election
results, one from the digital record and one from human beings
counting paper ballots, I'd pick the latter as the ultimate fallback.

Perhaps I'm old fashioned? Or perhaps (being an engineer) I'm too
cynical about computerization? Ah well, I am what I am.

- LP

On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 16:09:39 -0500, David Mertz
<> wrote:
> > charlie strauss said:
> >> Doug jones has reccomended that neither paper nor electroninc
> >> voteshave
> >> primacy in an dispute. Iinstead he reccomends that someone decides
> >> which is most likely to reconstruct the correct record as best as
> >> possible. I agree though it does not simplify the process.
> Dec 28, 2004, at 4:51 PM, Kathy Dopp wrote:
> > I agree with you and Doug because logic and common sense needs to be
> > applied in any situation.
> > Look at Florida 2000 for instance where ballot spoilage was huge in
> > many
> > opscan precincts. It may easily happen (and "has" happened in
> > America's
> > history) that unethical persons may once in a while manage to throw
> > away
> > or despoil permanent paper records.
> I'll chime in (again) with the same sentiment. I understand Theresa's
> concern--all things being equal, I'd prefer to look at the paper too.
> Even to the point of saying there's a "strong preference" towards
> basing the canvass on the paper ballots.
> But in exceptional circumstances, the paper can also clearly go wrong.
> Kathy mentions the destruction of paper ballots. I'd also urge readers
> to think about the other direction: paper ballots can be forged and
> stuffed into ballot boxes. I've mentioned from time to time--as have
> others--that we can take measures to prevent ballot forgery. These
> measures can be both physical features like special stock and
> watermarks, and also cryptographic features like digital signatures on
> authentic ballots.
> Clearly false ballots should not be counted just because they are
> printed on paper. It may well be possible to identify false ballots
> based only on what's the paper. But at times, the electronic records
> will be relevant to establishing forgery of paper ballots; there's
> definitely no reason to rule out such a use of electronic records a
> priori--in fact, doing so is foolish. In fact, the digital signatures
> paper ballots should contain inherently need to be checked with the aid
> of electronic information (not the EBIs per se, however).
> The right thing in a given dispute will always depend on context and
> specific forensic results. Yeah, start with the paper and presume its
> priority... but don't stop analysis as soon as you get to that point;
> not if doing other things can reveal and correct improprieties.
> Yours, David...
> ---
> Keeping medicines from the bloodstreams of the sick; food
> from the bellies of the hungry; books from the hands of the
> uneducated; technology from the underdeveloped; and putting
> advocates of freedom in prisons. Intellectual property is
> to the 21st century what the slave trade was to the 16th.
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Received on Sat Jan 7 22:28:55 2006

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