Re: [OVC-discuss] IEEE Spectrum, "Open-Source Voting"

From: Edward Cherlin <echerlin_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Oct 03 2008 - 16:49:49 CDT

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 6:40 AM, John-Paul Gignac
<jjgignac@fossfactory.org> wrote:
> Just thought I'd chime in...
>
> On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 12:54 AM, Alan Dechert <dechert@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/oct08/6788
>>
>> Besides me, they quote Rebecca Mercuri. It's an okay article, but I think I
>> should respond to some of the comments by Mercuri.
>>
>> The problem with the OVC model, says Rebecca
>> Mercuri, owner of computer security firm Notable
>> Software, in Philadelphia, is that while OVC may
>> be more secure than today's proprietary systems,
>> it is no more secure than electronically scanning
>> paper ballots. ?
>
> By my understanding of OVC's approach, strictly speaking, I think I
> would agree with her statement. But it misses the point. Paper
> ballots are about as secure as you can get, and I think that OVC is on
> par with that. Compared to electronically scanning paper ballots,
> OVC's advantages include usability, accessibility and counting
> accuracy.

It appears to me that Rebecca and you have both missed a point,
because the combination of electronic records and a paper ballot
containing extra security information (digital hashes) is intended to
make the process more secure, by automatically revealing missing
ballots, extra ballots, or switched ballots.

Error detection, at least, and in almost all cases pretty good error
correction. Unless a significant fraction of the ballots can be
replaced without detection, and the electronic record can be hacked to
match the published hashes of the raw data. Or DAs and judges can be
bought or are excessively partisan, and the press and the public can
be kept out of the process.

> John-Paul
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Received on Fri Oct 31 23:17:03 2008

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