Re: Focus on Rights

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Sun Nov 11 2007 - 15:46:27 CST

I agree, Arthur, that vote buying/selling is easy with vote-by-mail
ballots. Mail ballots also open the door to coercion, to say nothing of
outright vote fraud. So, in all respects mail ballots are worse than
precinct based paper ballot voting, which is why I think mail ballots
should be allowed only for people who truly need them.

However, it's not clear to me that it is necessary to scan ballots in
order to reduce the risk of fraud. I'm sure you agree that mandatory
random manual statistically significant audits are key, not only to
significantly reducing the risk of fraud but also for catching bugs in
the technology. The audit could be televised live, videotaped, etc. If
we had the right kind of audits, I don't think we'd need to scan in all
the ballots and post them on the internet.


Arthur Keller wrote:
> Barbara, yes, I'm aware of that problem. Plus one can deliberately
> make stray marks. But vote selling can easily occur with
> vote-by-mail ballots anyway (unless you allow election day overrides
> of vote-by-mail ballots). The question is how you compare
> vote-selling risk vs. voting-system error or fraud risk.
> Best regards,
> Arthur
> At 10:05 AM -0800 11/11/07, Barbara Simons wrote:
>> Hi, Arthur. One problem with scanning all the ballots and making those
>> scans public is that it could facilitate vote selling, since the person
>> selling his/her vote could make some highly unlikely set of choices on
>> the ballot as a kind of signature.
>> Regards,
>> Barbara
>> Arthur Keller wrote:
>>> At 8:03 AM -0500 11/30/07, Arlene Montemarano wrote:
>>>> The protection of our fragile rights should always the primary
>>>> point of all that we do.
>>> The question boils down to how we best safeguard those rights. If
>>> you had the choice of hand-counted paper ballots only vs. paper
>>> ballots that were electronically scanned in the precinct when the
>>> voter casts the ballot and then hand counted at the end of the day
>>> (i.e., both electronic and hand counts), which would you prefer?
>>> (Assume the electronic counts are not released until the hand counts
>>> are made.) Now suppose that the electronic scanner kept an image
>>> copy of the ballot and that anyone could get a copy of all of those
>>> images and hand or machine count those images to compare them to the
>>> official vote count, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? Do
>>> you oppose the inclusion of electronic systems if they supplement
>>> rather than replace hand counting? Would you accept the idea that
>>> the combination of electronic systems and hand counting can be more
>> > secure and fraud or tamper resistent than hand counting alone?
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:13 2007

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