Re: Should candidates challenge elections?

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Wed May 18 2005 - 21:30:51 CDT

On May 18, 2005, at 5:58 PM, clintcurtis@clintcurtis.com wrote:

> In order to provide all those checks and balances, you are providing
> access to the political parties, politicians elected to supervise these
> operations, and selected volunteers to do the random recounts. I could
> be wrong but it seems that anyone with any vested interest has the
> potential to see the actual ballots

They do, but very briefly. No one gets to sift through the ballots at
her leisure, picking out the ones that permit them to correlate votes
with voters.

> while the general public can only
> see a sanitized version. Your argument may be completely valid but as a
> member of the general public - I would not feel that the system was as
> transparent as it should be.
>
> Over the last couple of months I have had quite a few conversations
> with
> interested parties that are concerned but not politically connected or
> politically involved. Their interest sprang from their distrust of the
> existing system. I believe that any system that replaces the existing
> system will have to bend over backward to show that it is fully
> transparent in every area.

It would appear from our conversation so far that "full transparency"
means the effective end of the secret ballot. But I don't think we have
to go that far. We can squelch most frauds via means similar to the
ones I listed earlier. The resulting system would be *much* better than
what we have: more secure, more transparent, better at self-correction,
and with more meaningful opportunities for public participation. We
need to react strongly against the detestable status quo. But we need
to avoid reacting so strongly that we stomp other important rights in
the process.

> I have to sign off for now so don't be offended if I can not respond to
> any additional thoughts until tomorrow.

Good night, then.

-R

> Clint Curtis
>
>
>> -------- Original Message --------
>> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Should candidates challenge elections?
>> From: Ron Crane <voting@lastland.net>
>> Date: Wed, May 18, 2005 8:35 pm
>> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
>> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>>
>> I have already pointed out how a review of whole ballots can reveal
>> the
>> identities of voters -- in particular, the most vulnerable ones. If
>> you
>> don't think it can, please poke holes in my example; don't just assert
>> that it can't happen.
>>
>> It's quite true that slicing the ballots can undermine their
>> integrity.
>> However, I am not asking the public "to blindly 'trust the system'".
>> For electronic systems, I demand full open source with proper checks,
>> hardware inspection, random election-day testing, VVPAT, appropriate
>> use of random hand recounts, and real public supervision of all the
>> steps of the process (including the slicing), plus a comprehensive,
>> usable legal process to challenge apparent fraud and to ensure that
>> the
>> right candidate gets the job in the election in question, not just in
>> some later election. For paper-only systems, we need full
>> multipartisan
>> supervision at *every step of the process*, and we need a legal
>> framework that guarantees this supervision as a right.
>>
>> If that's not "better than D[ie]bold", I'm a newt.
>>
>> -R
>>
>> On May 18, 2005, at 5:16 PM, clintcurtis@clintcurtis.com wrote:
>>
>>> If you slice them up, you lose the integrity of the data. Who does
>>> the
>>> slicing? Who distributes the sliced up records? How can an interested
>>> party verify the results since they have no other races to show
>>> trends
>>> or compare exit polls?. At that stage you are back to asking the
>>> public
>>> to blindly "trust The System". How is that better than Deibold? A
>>> full
>>> review at most would show a voting trend. It would not identify the
>>> voter.
>>>
>>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>>> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Should candidates challenge elections?
>>>> From: Ron Crane <voting@lastland.net>
>>>> Date: Wed, May 18, 2005 7:43 pm
>>>> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
>>>> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>>>>
>>>> I'm all for rooting out fraud. But I am also concerned that some
>>>> approaches to doing so may have the effect of disadvantaging
>>>> unpopular
>>>> candidates or parties. America chose the secret ballot mainly to
>>>> reduce
>>>> coercion, and we should be careful about compromising that ballot,
>>>> especially for those who already are on the margins. Again, I have
>>>> no
>>>> problem with making the votes public, as long as they're sliced up
>>>> to
>>>> remove any association between voters and votes.
>>>>
>>>> -R
>>>>
>>>> On May 18, 2005, at 4:13 PM, clintcurtis@clintcurtis.com wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Anything less than an open system lends itself to fraud. At would
>>>>> be
>>>>> a
>>>>> rare occasion where the winner would bother to research the vote.
>>>>> Even
>>>>> losing candidates are overwhelmed by attempting a recount. It is
>>>>> more
>>>>> in the purview of statisticians and interest groups.
>>>>>
>>>>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Should candidates challenge elections?
>>>>>> From: Ron Crane <voting@lastland.net>
>>>>>> Date: Tue, May 17, 2005 10:12 pm
>>>>>> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
>>>>>> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Making whole ballots public creates a significant potential for
>>>>>> coercion. Imagine a small town (or small precinct) in which the
>>>>>> ballot
>>>>>> lists two races: state rep and sheriff. In this jurisdiction there
>>>>>> are
>>>>>> a few homes with "Green Party" signs on their lawns. Their owners
>>>>>> voted
>>>>>> for the Green candidate for state rep and against the current
>>>>>> sheriff.
>>>>>> No one else in the jurisdiction voted Green. Now imagine the
>>>>>> sheriff's
>>>>>> a bit vindictive.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Ick.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Slicing the ballots into strips, each showing an individual race,
>>>>>> would
>>>>>> fix this problem.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> -R
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On May 17, 2005, at 5:54 PM, clintcurtis@clintcurtis.com wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Beyond just the random issue, we should insist that the votes be
>>>>>>> publicly available to anyone who wished to see them. That would
>>>>>>> take
>>>>>>> the stigma out of the recount process and make sure that the
>>>>>>> votes
>>>>>>> were
>>>>>>> properly tabulated. Property tax records as well as most public
>>>>>>> documents are publicly available to anyone who shows an interest
>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>> their information. Voting records should definitely be considered
>>>>>>> public documents. Providing a second receipt which could be
>>>>>>> stored
>>>>>>> as
>>>>>>> public record should allow such access.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Clint Curtis
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>>>>>>> Subject: [OVC-discuss] Should candidates challenge elections?
>>>>>>>> From: Stephanie Frank Singer <sfsinger@campaignscientific.com>
>>>>>>>> Date: Tue, May 17, 2005 7:01 pm
>>>>>>>> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
>>>>>>>> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I'll put my two cents in for random. And we should make it
>>>>>>>> clear
>>>>>>>> what
>>>>>>>> "random" really means. Otherwise people often mistake "random"
>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>> "mostly evenly distributed" which is not a synonym at all!
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> It's a mistake to rely on candidates. Consider Joe Hoeffel, who
>>>>>>>> ran
>>>>>>>> against Specter in PA for Senate in 2004. He would have a lot
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> gain
>>>>>>>> if fraud were proved, as he would either be a Senator now, or
>>>>>>>> folks
>>>>>>>> would have to recognize that he came from nowhere to be
>>>>>>>> neck-and-neck
>>>>>>>> with a well-established incumbent, in which case he would be
>>>>>>>> considered
>>>>>>>> a candidate to reckon with (which he isn't). But it's not worth
>>>>>>>> risking the "troublemaker," "sore loser" labels that he faces
>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>> complaining. It's not realistic to depend on candidates (or
>>>>>>>> anyone
>>>>>>>> else) to work against their own perceptions of their own
>>>>>>>> self-interest.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Here's another tack: not only do I, as a PA resident, have an
>>>>>>>> interest
>>>>>>>> in the integrity of PA elections, I have an interest in the
>>>>>>>> integrity
>>>>>>>> of each other state's elections, because of Amendment 14,
>>>>>>>> Section
>>>>>>>> 2
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> the Constitution. If enough voters were disenfranchised in,
>>>>>>>> say,
>>>>>>>> Texas, then the Consitution guarantees that the Texas
>>>>>>>> delegations
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> the Electoral College and the US House of Reps should both
>>>>>>>> shrink,
>>>>>>>> which gives my electors and reps more clout!
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> On May 17, 2005, at 6:40 PM, Ron Crane wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Whatever the process, it has to be transparent, established
>>>>>>>>> before
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> elections in which it is applied, and either (a) completely
>>>>>>>>> unbiased
>>>>>>>>> (random) or (b) open to *all* partisan inputs, including those
>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>> any
>>>>>>>>> member of the public. We cannot rely on the candidates to do
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> job.
>>>>>>>>> Just off the cuff, I prefer publicly-witnessed random choice,
>>>>>>>>> since
>>>>>>>>> it's easy for the public to understand and to verify, and it's
>>>>>>>>> not
>>>>>>>>> so
>>>>>>>>> open to the exercise of discretion, and it's not so open to
>>>>>>>>> manipulation via uneven (or unevenly-applied) bureaucratic
>>>>>>>>> obstacles,
>>>>>>>>> such as application fees, etc.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> -R
>>>>>>>>>
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:41 2005

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