Re: Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sat May 15 2004 - 15:38:42 CDT

On May 15, 2004, at 3:58 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
> I don't see anything "illegal" about it.
> ****
> I have proposed a "dumb card" instead of a smart card for use in a
> primary.
> When you check in, the pollworker would give you a card with a number
> on it
> that represents your party. Let's say you're a Republican and that is
> party
> number two. You'd get a card (maybe the size of a 3x5 card) that has
> the
> number "2" on it. The first screen you see on the voting station would
> say,
> "select you party number" or something like that. The printed ballot
> would
> have a number "2" visible in the margin along with the barcode. When
> you go
> to deposit the ballot, the pollworker takes your dumb card and checks
> the
> number on the margin to see that it matches.
> ****

OK, that's legal. My PIN idea isn't quite as "dumb" as Alan's party
code. But it's still on the dumb side of things :-)... much less
fallible programming and special devices than Arthur's programmed
electronic cards and readers.

But I think the extra verification digits is redundancy of the good
kind, despite my concern about redundancy sometimes being a way of
saying "complexity."

Specifically, here's an attack on Alan's design that is very easy to
carry out: Green Party voter goes to check-in, registers, and is given
a "#3=Green" card (y'know, Alan-style dumbcards can just have the
printed name of the party too). Voter goes to booth, and spuriously
votes multiple Democratic ballots; then votes one legit Green ballot

Knowing the poll worker won't let him insert the Democratic ballots
without a matching dumbcard, voter crumples up the Democratic ballots
into his pocket, and submits the one Green ballot to the ballot box.

This attack doesn't put false ballots into the ballot box, but it DOES
cause spurious EBIs to exist on the voting station. Now we have a
reconciliation problem, since the fate of those ballots is not known to
poll workers. Yeah, the paper is still official, but spurious EBIs
spread discord and doubt.

For that matter, how hard is it to forge a 3x5 card with the number 3
on it?
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:44 2004

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