Re: Ballot box stuffing prevention

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Sat May 15 2004 - 19:03:49 CDT

Ed,

> I think we've identified the weak point in the system as now imagined.
> The whole problem is about ballot box stuffing and one person/one vote. I
> feel strongly that we are at a standstill if we cannot solve the problem
of
> how much should we trust the voter. The democratic system is built on
> trust. Admittedly this trust is sometimes misplaced but that's NOT the
> problem the OVC has set itself to solve.
>
No. We are not going to solve this today or tomorrow. The stanstill you
speak of exists in your mind only.

There will be no certified system until we get funding to do the work. Part
of the study will be to set up trials to work this out--along with many
other issues that have to be tested. Different people have different ideas
on the best way to do this. We will find this out. We don't go into a
funded scientific study claiming to know all the answers in advance.

With the system I have outlined, the responsibility of ensuring that only
one ballot goes in the ballot box rests with the pollworker(s). That's
their job. They take the folder from the voter and slide the ballot into
the ballot box. It's a very simple procedure witnessed by several people.

This is not a "trust us" procedure. If there are 501 signatures on the
roster, then there better be 501 ballots in the ballot box. The numbers
will match so long as people follow procedures. It's no use saying "but
people don't follow procedures" because there is no way around the fact that
smooth-running elections depend on the people involved following procedures.
Lots of people want to replace human procedures with machine procedures.
This has value in certain instances.

If it seems that election officials will only be comfortable with the
smartcard, we'll give it to them. My personal opinion is that it's not
necessary and involves more points of failure and more risks. We will find
out the answers.

Alan D.
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:45 2004

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