Re: Spoiled ballots, forged ballots, destroyed ballots

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 20:29:36 CDT

On Jun 11, 2004, at 8:14 PM, John Payson wrote:
> Apoligies for my incorrect terminology. What I meant was a ballot
> which has been altered in such a way as to be no longer valid, but
> which still exists.

I'm not sure what such an alteration could be. A damaged ballot isn't
really *invalid*, even if it is *unreadable*. It's our obligation to
extract the voters intent from whatever we have available, as long as
we believe it reflects a genuine expression of voting preference
(rather than a forged ballots... obviously we're limited by physics and
technology in our obligation).

I agree that if we find that half the ballots in the box have been
marked over with black indelible marker, we should be pretty worried
that some tampering happened.

> -1- It should be possible for any interested person to be
> shown that the election is tabultated correctly and
> legitimately, **EVEN IF THAT PERSON TRUSTS NO COMPUTER
> EQUIPMENT OTHER THAN HIS OWN**

The main aspect of trust in OVC's design (or, I believe, in ANY design)
isn't really in computers, but in procedural safeguards.
Chain-of-custody, contesting parties as monitors, etc. If you imagine
a big enough conspiracy, you can well imagine the entire election was a
mockup in which all real votes are discarded... and fake ones
substituted (even to match some home-run software).

For example, the "claim" that voting stations run the same software
alleged (and released to the public) is mostly a matter of rules for
handling the distributed CDs, computer, etc. Sure, we'll use
cryptographic signatures and all... but we trust voting officials to
run the signature checks and not lie about the results. Of course, we
trust voting officials partially on the condition that they have a
Democrat standing over their left shoulder and a Republican standing
over their right shoulder while they perform the checks. But still,
most of the trust is in PEOPLE not in BITS.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:13 2004

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