Re: [OVC-discuss] An attempt to sneak Internet voting in via the back door?

From: Edward Cherlin <>
Date: Fri Jun 19 2009 - 03:43:01 CDT

On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 10:29 PM, Arthur Keller <> wrote:
> At 3:41 PM -0700 6/18/09, Edward Cherlin wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 11:02 AM, Arthur Keller <> wrote:
>>>  I think Military Voting USING the Internet is a great idea.  But I'm opposed to Military Voting VIA the Internet.  What's difference, you say?  I think it is reasonable for a military, overseas, or other remote voter to go to an Internet website, type in information about the jurisdiction of the voter, be shown a ballot where the voter enters his/her selections.  The system would download a PDF file, which would be printed, sealed in an a "universal vote-by-mail envelope," where the appropriate affirmations and identification and voter's signature was affixed,
>> That's one option. What's the difference? Why not allow military
>> ballots to be printed in the US, by the military at a military
>> facility, with secure data transmission via MILNET? This does not have
>> any of the security issues of voting over the open Internet.
> Because your approach does not have the voter's signature on the outside of the ballot, that's why.

Actually, it does. The voter signs on a touch screen, and the computer
captures the ink and pressure data. The remote printer prints the ink
and optionally a bar code of the pressure data. This is used for
secure sign-in systems, because a counterfeiter cannot readily get
access to the pressure data.

The military generally does a better job with secret data than any
election board.

> My approach does, and that makes all the difference.  The voter seals the ballot in the envelope with a signature, and no one sees it until it arrives at County Central, where officials determine whether to count it before they open the ballot envelope.

My system has the ballot and envelope printed, stuffed, and sealed
without being seen by anybody.

>> If your option were to be used, I would like to see the information
>> printed on the envelope at the time of voting, all except the
>> signatures. I would like the military to be required to get and verify
>> the signatures, and not permit invalid envelopes to go through.
> The signatures are supposed to match the registration form, to which it is unreasonable for military officials to have access.

On the contrary, the military system has to know where the soldier is
registered in order to present the correct ballot.

Military officials can ensure that the ballot matches the soldier's
dog tags and recorded signature, and the system can make sure that the
voter does not forget to sign. Likewise for the witness.

> You must not take acceptance of the ballot away from the local election officials for any group of voters, however worthy.

I didn't. The military wouldn't accept ballots and envelopes, just
make sure they are filled out in accordance with the law and send them

>>  > and then the ballot and envelope could be mailed or otherwise delivered to the local jurisdiction for counting.  The ballot would be handled the way provisional ballots are handled, safely and securely.

The same in both of our proposals. Mine reduces time in transit.

>> It is widely known that mail services in some countries where the
>> military is deployed are utterly unreliable. If you mean using
>> military mail, maybe.

No comment?

>>  > These universal vote-by-mail envelopes would be widely available, and the voter would write the jurisdiction's address on the envelope, and the website that chooses the correct jurisdiction's ballot could give the address information to the voter.
>> Please print the information on the envelope. Anything to reduce human
>> error in voting is a plus. Currently about half of military absentee
>> ballots are reportedly rejected.
> That could be done but it not required.  Not everyone has a printer with the capability of printing envelopes.

Military voting stations would.

> Besides the online vote printer shouldn't know the identity of the voter either, but merely the voter's jurisdiction, for voter privacy.

Yes, that is an issue. But anyone who thinks that ballots cannot be
read inside a sealed envelope hasn't the background for security.

>>  > Military bases and US embassies could accept ballots up to the time the *first* polling places close in the US, and the ballots could be considered on time even if received at the local jurisdiction later (but within, say, 7 days of the election).  These acceptance locations might or might not be required to check ID.
>> Why not?
> Because the ballots could be mailed to County Central by depositing it in mailbox and having the identity checked.

We are designing a belt and suspenders system. Why leave out an
obvious verification step to prevent an obvious and well-known source
of error?

>>  > In any event, it is the local jurisdiction that verifies the voters identity including signature.

Yes. But voting clerks are supposed to make sure that voters sign
ballot envelopes that they drop off. I propose the same for the
military, as a courtesy to their members.

>>>  Best regards,
>>  > Arthur
> Best regards,
> Arthur
> --
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Received on Tue Jun 30 23:17:04 2009

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