Ballot publication problem

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun May 22 2005 - 11:52:39 CDT

On May 22, 2005, at 11:21 AM, Marty Schrader wrote:
> but only the individual voter knows his own ballot's PGP. Everybody
> else just sees a big number.

ANYTHING a voter knows, the people holding a gun to his head know!

Seriously, take this as an *axiom* in information design. There can be
no such thing as selective revelation of information only to a voter
when you are concerned with vote coercion and vote buying. You design
a proper system so that a voter is in principle incapable of revealing
anything you don't want to allow as general knowledge. As long as
everyone knows in advance exactly what information is available, and to
whom, threats or bribes for revealing information become moot.

Even VoteHere and Chaum get this part right. There is a definite
transparency problem with those systems (as I frequently comment), in
that voters can't understand all the fancy math. But in those systems,
the number a voter takes home is a proof *that* she voted (and the vote
was included in the tally), not a proof of *how* she voted. And that
much is perfectly fine, since the fact of voting is not an anonymity
feature we need or wish to preserve. In fact, even without any
VoteHere-style number, the rolls of voters who showed up are
more-or-less publicly revealed right now. The voter list may not be
published per se, but the information is very laxly controlled. For
example, I get a little "town census" postcard every year that
indicates my last vote participation (and asks how many people live at
my house, and how many dogs we have)--it is sent to my address rather
than nailed to the town hall door, but it is not even sealed in an
envelope (so a lot of people might see it).

Yours, David...

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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:44 2005

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