Re: draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2009 - 18:08:05 CST

David,

There is yet another security problem for the HCPB after the ballot is in the ballot box. There is nothing to prevent black-hearted officials from adding marks to the ballot and disqualifying a vote as having two selections where one is required. It would take an immense amount of public oversight, not letting ballot boxes out of poll watcher sight, to counter this possibility.

The ability to audit a scanned image of original ballots as these ballots are cast counters this threat, if one uses a scanner-based system where the voter scans the ballot.

-- Dick Johnson

--- On Sat, 1/24/09, David Mertz <mertz@gnosis.cx> wrote:

> From: David Mertz <mertz@gnosis.cx>
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill
> To: "Open Voting Consortium discussion list" <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
> Cc: "David Mertz" <mertz@gnosis.cx>
> Date: Saturday, January 24, 2009, 5:11 PM
> > To put it another way: if a voter takes a "fill in
> the bubble" or
> > similar sheet of paper and marks it, it's not
> critical that they ever
> > re-read and proof it. They made their marks and
> it's now 100%
> > impossible that something or somebody else manipulated
> those marks
> > before it gets to the ballot box.
>
> This seems like the main flaw in the thinking of the HCPB
> folks.
>
> As much as it appeals to a worthwhile distrust of
> technology, the odds of a voter incorrectly marking
> intention using a pencil and bubbles is MUCH LARGER than the
> odds that an OVC-style ballot printer (with admittedly
> spotty and imperfect voter verification) will incorrectly
> mark it.
>
> This is equally true for the case of selective presentation
> and other voting-bias attacks, most of which apply equally
> well to how paper is laid out as how a computer screen is.
>
> There are several factors that go into this, and I admit I
> am guessing on probabilities. My own hunch is pretty darn
> strong though.
>
> A) Chance a voter will innocently fill in the wrong bubble
> (due to unbiased human error)
> B) Chance a paper ballot will systematically bias votes due
> to presentation flaws (whether accidental or malicious)
>
> C) Chance a voter will innocently select the wrong part of
> a computer interface (unbiased human error)
> D) Chance the ballot printer will print a ballot that does
> not match the computer interface selection (accidental or
> malicious error).
>
> ...
> E) Here's the compound part. It is clearly true that
> only a relatively small number of voters will *actually*
> verify their ballots. Moreover, many of those who attempt
> to will proof-read poorly, and fail to detect an error in
> the printout.
>
> E1) Nonetheless, SOME voters will accurately proof-read
> printed ballots, meaning that the probability that an
> undetected, systematic error in transmission of the computer
> interface to the printed ballot will be statistically
> insignificant. Let me emphasize this again: errors emerge
> in the sample size, however poor individual proofing might
> be, as long as it is *better than random*.
>
> E2) Some percentage of voters who make an accidental error
> in the computer interface will detect that on examination of
> the printed ballot (not all, probably not most, but SOME).
>
> The overall result is ALMOST CERTAINLY a greater accuracy
> of representation of voter intention in an OVC-style system
> than in a strict hand-filled ballot.
>
> ...plus all the other nice properties like access for
> voters with disabilities, randomization of candidate order,
> easier interfaces for things like ranked-preference voting,
> better audit-trails, etc.
>
> >
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Received on Thu Jan 7 00:09:51 2010

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