Re: Ballot publication problem

From: Edward Cherlin <cherlin_at_pacbell_dot_net>
Date: Mon May 23 2005 - 04:24:31 CDT

On Sunday 22 May 2005 11:24, Marty Schrader wrote:
> David Mertz said:
> > ANYTHING a voter knows, the people holding a gun to his head
> > know!
> Alan Dechert said:
> > You cannot publish the ballots. People will sign them. I
> > thought we buried that one a long time ago.
> Why is this issue "buried?"

Because ballots are secret. Because ballot secrecy has been
established as a result of thousands of years of hard
experience, and it isn't going away.

> 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?

Because it affects the integrity of the election. Because the
election system is a system that includes the behavior of all
the people involved in voting and trying to influence votes
legally (by campaigning) and illegally (by intimidation,
bribery, malfeasance in office, misprision of felony, or any of
the other election crimes that we are familiar with through
long, sad experience) as well as the process for casting and
counting votes on election day and thereafter.

I fail to understand the distinction you feel is so obvious. Do
you mean outside the voting booth? Outside the room containing
the voting booths? Outside the building containing the room
containing the voting booths? Should we not talk about illegally
removing people from voting rolls, or illegally adding people?
Is that outside the voting process? Should we not talk about
Secretaries of State and other voting officials illegally
refusing to count absentee ballots on specious grounds, or
insisting on counting illegal ballots? Are they outside the
electoral process?

> Potential criminal acts
> shouldn't affect whether a particular feature has merit. If I
> drive a battery-operated Prius there is no chance I can commit
> a crime by exceeding the speed limit.

Patently false, but irrelevant. OK, so I can't break the speed
limit on a bicycle.

> My V8-powered Mustang
> can do so easily. Is this a reason for restricting my V8?

Many features of race cars are illegal on the street. According
to the principle you espouse here, they should all be legal.
Thus your simile is deeply flawed, and your argument has no

> Or suppose that I would never on my own violate the speed
> limit law [cough, ahem]. However, a bank robber needs a rapid
> getaway and "holds a gun to my head" to force me to break the
> law. Is this a valid reason to deny me my V8?
> Please, let's examine the pros and cons of election machine
> features without throwing a lot of external context at them.

Your V8 is as external a context as I have yet seen on this list.

> If we need to remove or restrict features because of external
> considerations then we need to enumerate what those
> considerations are.

Yes, we *are* going to conduct a detailed security audit of the
voting process. In the meantime, a number of us have tried to
explain to you that ballot secrecy is one of the unavoidable
considerations, although I certainly don't consider it to be

> I always use a file of "The Road Not
> Traveled" with the projects I work on. The clients find that
> file just as valuable as the finished product because it tells
> them what not to do when developing the next generation of
> product or even adding features to this one. The OVC project
> should be exactly the same way.

I fail to see the relevance of this otherwise excellent idea.

Edward Cherlin
Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy and more
"A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
--Alice in Wonderland
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:45 2005

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