Re: securing electronic ballots

From: Rick Gideon <rick_at_openvoting_dot_org>
Date: Tue Nov 25 2003 - 23:53:27 CST

On Tue, 25 Nov 2003, Lori Flynn wrote:

> I am curious why voters need to physically touch the ballot at all. What
> I've heard about voting in Brazil (where 100% of the population is
> required by law to vote at national elections, and where 100% of the last
> presidential vote was electronic) is that a paper ballot is printed which
> is visible behind glass to the voter. The voter verifies that indeed it
> shows the correct choices made. Then the paper ballot drops (in front
> of the voters' eyes and behind glass) into a locked box. Votes are summed
> electronically. A friend from the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil says that
> 2-3% of the paper votes are counted (after voting is done and the
> electronic votes have been totalled for a location) to check to make sure
> that the fractions for each candidate in the electronic totals check out.
> Of course, if there are allegations of electronic fraud, all 100% of the
> paper ballots are right there to be counted.
> > Placing cryptographic codes on the printed ballots allows us to assure
> > that every such ballot is -legitimate-, hence preventing pre-printing of
> > false ballots, and ballot-stuffing. But nothing -on- the sheet of paper
> > can specifically document the fate of those pieces of paper we DO NOT
> > have.
> Paper ballots behind glass removes that problem.

Paper ballots behind glass increase the chances of paper jams and other
anomalies associated with a covering. Not to mention the severely
increased size of the "booth" and cost associated with introducing such a
system. Not very practical, in my opinion.

> > To my mind, what makes this question complicated is the same coercion
> > issue mentioned above. If we really did think that any voter who failed
> > to place a printed ballot in the box was simply forgetful,
> No coercion since the voter *can't* take the ballot home.

A person won't be allowed to leave with a ballot, thats why polling places
are staffed, someone isn't going to just "Forget" to put their ballot in.
Being able to touch and hold that ballot in their hands gives people a
feeling of empowerment, a feeling their vote makes a difference. Not
having that leaves people with an empty feeling, the same feeling many
people have described when using DRE systems.

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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:09 2003

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