Re: Whom do you trust to count your vote?

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sat Oct 16 2004 - 16:41:34 CDT

On Oct 16, 2004, at 4:25 PM, Jan Karrman wrote:
> And here is an article by Paul Murphy, "the Sunray guy":
> http://www.washingtondispatch.com/article_10318.shtml
> He starts describing the OVC concept in very positive words - but then
> calls it "useless as a generic solution to the problems with electronic
> voting"...

Yeah... Rudy de Haas ("Paul Murphy's" name when he's not a byline) is a
bit off track in the Sunray schtick. Part of it is he really doesn't
understand what's at stake in elections--he thinks only "conspiracy
theorists" worry about flaws/hackers in computerized voting. It's a
very misguided view, much like wearing large blinders.

Rudy's narrow point of view of voting considers solely:

   "What's likely to avoid bugs, if all involved parties are presumed to
act in good faith?"

If this is your only question, Rudy's Sunray thing might well be a
decent solution. And if you generically assume every doubt anyone
might raise is exactly equally valid (and all "conspiracy theory"),
then -sure- OVC's design is not totally immune to skepticism.

Still... I can't help but find Rudy's obsession with Sun a bit weird.
If he doesn't simply own stock, I think he must be chummy with some Sun
folks, or maybe have worked there in the past. It goes way past a
simple technocratic-only blinder (something, unfortunately, shared to
an extent by Mercuri, Rubin, and some other anti-DRE good guys).

In any case, the real world has very little in common with Rudy's
idyllic world of uniform good intentions. In this actual world,
stealing votes is very desirable, and many people are quite willing to
break laws to do that. Believing that is not conspiracy mongering, but
common sense.

The other thing Rudy misses, of course, is *voter confidence*. Not
100% complete "no one can possibly doubt it" type confidence. But just
general high percentages of voters who understand the voting system
well enough to know it's worth trusting. The whole
thin-server-running-trusted-code thing might appeal to network
engineers and cryptographers (though being those things myself, I'm
less than convinced). But average voters have no way of understanding
why that arrangement is (perhaps) better than outright DREs. Not even
close.

Walk down your street and ask an average citizen to explain the
difference between a network stack and a distributed application! Even
those of you who live in Silicon Valley. The percentage of remotely
correct answers you'll get will be quite low, I'll wager (in fact, I'll
literally wager: $5 anyone?).

Yours, David...
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Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:45 2004

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