Re: OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 20, Issue 12

From: Jerry Lobdill <lobdillj_at_charter_dot_net>
Date: Wed Jun 14 2006 - 15:12:21 CDT

I'm beginning to see the effects of bureaucracy on system design, I think. :-)

Transparency and privacy can become an unsolvable problem if every
last jot and tiddle are given equal importance with the principal
issues. As we used to say in the US Navy contracting business,
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

We can eliminate the printing of barcodes on the ballots, but if one
is worried that somehow this will satisfy everyone that there is no
way that a human voter can be traced to her vote, forget about it.
Any information that could be included in the mysterious barcode may
be assumed to be lurking in the computer whether it is printed in
ASCII or coded in some other way, or not printed at all.

And about transparency...if the entire processing chain from the
marking of the ballot to the output of the election results must be
transparent to the least educated, lowest IQ voter, forget that too.

What we need here, it seems to me, is a system that is transparent to
any competent team of hardware engineers and programmers and the
openness of policies and procedures to allow any interested team to
examine the system in detail and be satisfied that it is as
advertised and specified.

At some level we all have to trust someone to tell the truth and to
be expert enough to determine what is happening in the computational
process. But to be asked to take the word of manufacturers who refuse
to give up source code and won't give sufficient visibility into the
hardware/firmware aspect to assure that the system has no back doors
and no undocumented functionality is beyond any reasonable expectation.

Just my $0.02.

Jerry Lobdill

At 02:00 PM 6/14/2006, you wrote:

>We are not oblivious to the privacy issue with barcodes on the
>ballot. Section 5.5 of our privacy paper discusses that very issue.
>Best regards,
>At 5:19 PM -0400 6/13/06, Lillie Coney wrote:
> >Arnold it was a pleasure meeting you at the workshop.
> >
> >I did want to concur that there are privacy and transparency
> >issues associated with the use of barcodes on physical ballots.
> >
> >The barcode is not human friendly and is produced at the time
> >the vote is captured. This creates two of areas of concern:
> >the voter only has the assurances of the administrator that no
> >identifying information is contained on the ballot, and that
> >the votes represented on the bardcode are in fact their choices.
> >Transparency challenges are real, but the federal standards
> >process has not lent itself to voter access to the ballot barcode
> >information.
> >
> >The following is an excerpt from the transcript on the use
> >of barcode readers by voters, while in the privacy of the voting
> >cubical. The transcript is from the last meeting of the TGDC
> >on their recommendations for voluntary voting standards.
> >
> >
> >
> >Full Transcript
> >
> >Thank you for the notes from the meeting.
> >
> >Lillie
> >
> >>5. A couple of participants expressed concern about the lack of
> >>transparency associated with the use of bar codes on ballots.
> >
> >--
> >Lillie Coney
> >Associate Director
> >Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
> >Coordinator, National Committee for Voting Integrity (NCVI)
> >1718 Connecticut Avenue, NW
> >Washington, DC 20009
> >(p) 202-483-1140 x 111
> >(f) 202-483-1248

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Received on Fri Jun 30 23:17:05 2006

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