Re: Ballot publication problem

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun May 22 2005 - 14:20:49 CDT

On May 22, 2005, at 2:24 PM, Marty Schrader wrote:
> Why is this issue "buried?" And why, oh why, are we still talking
> about criminal
> behavior in the context of the election process when the
> aforementioned criminal
> behavior is OUTSIDE of the electoral process altogether?

No, the criminal behavior is deeply and inextricably part of the
election process. Actively INVITING fraud is not part of a good design
(even if the fraud is a separate act).

If you are so indifferent to preventing fraud, Marty, why are you even
supporting the OVC?! After all, DREs do not -per se- steal votes, they
are merely very easily susceptible to malicious tampering (by vendors
or by outside hackers). Still, <rhetorical>shouldn't it be adequate
that tampering with a DRE is criminal? Why bother designing a system
that is less easy to cheat on?</rhetorical>

Btw. Of course there are lots of analogies with other things that can
be involved in crimes: cars, guns, locks, flammable materials,
appliances, smokestacks, garbage dumps, roads, toys, etc. Some are
regulated more, some less; and all of them in various ways at various
jurisdictional levels. Should you be able to buy a V8 car? Well, yeah,
probably. Should you be able to buy a car without seat belts or
airbags? I think probably not (at least for new cars); opinions differ.
  Should you be able to buy a car prone to exploding during a minor
collision? I'm pretty firmly against that option. Should you be able
to buy a car emitting more that such-and-such hydrocarbon and sulfur
levels? ...

To my mind, designing a voting system is closest to designing physical
locks. It's a crime to steal the stuff out of my house whether I have
a door lock or not... but I still prefer to have the lock. And even a
fairly good lock rather than one that can be forced with trivial
effort. But it's still an analogy, so don't rest too much on that.

> Please, let's examine the pros and cons of election machine features
> without
> throwing a lot of external context at them.

Not pros and cons, the following are inviolate core requirements of any
OVC system (and, I would argue, any system that preserves democracy in

(1) Protects voter anonymity;
(2) Allows voter ballot verification;
(3) Is procedurally and technically transparent to voters;
(4) Records voter intent accurately.

I'm not willing to consider, even for one second, any system that gives
up even one of those properties. It is disturbing to me how many
people want to chuck the anonymity part out the window at the slightest
imagination of a system that meets some other goal (not only for
meeting the other fundamental requirements above, but even secondary or
tertiary "nice to have" features).

Yours, David...

Keeping medicines from the bloodstreams of the sick; food
from the bellies of the hungry; books from the hands of the
uneducated; technology from the underdeveloped; and putting
advocates of freedom in prisons.  Intellectual property is
to the 21st century what the slave trade was to the 16th.
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:45 2005

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