Re: Election Theory - How to assure a fair election

From: Clay Lenhart <clay_at_lenharts_dot_net>
Date: Fri Sep 26 2003 - 18:58:23 CDT

On Fri, 2003-09-12 at 01:23, wrote:

> To elaborate on the trust issue.... yes, we want a system based on the fact
> we don't trust anyone. We have to assume that if there are any opportunities
> to game the system, some people will find them and exploit them (i.e., cheat).

I think I have a system that prevents people from cheating. The only way to make a valid vote is the voter in the voting booth. Read on to see why.

BTW, I haven't brouht it up until now, b/c I wanted to wait until after I got back from vacation to defend it.

I'm a strong believer in the free dissemination and *use* of
information, and what is discussed below is public domain. (Don't patent

What is clear, is the votes must be signed to prevent tampering by the
authority counting the votes. One way to do this is to sign the ballot
to prevent tampering. There are two obvious problems if there is one
private key doing the signing: 1) the centeral counting authority (Sec.
of State) could forge the votes by taking the private key and signing
bogus ballots. 2) A voter can vote twice.

What I propose is that each politcal party create 300 million private
keys each (in USA) and distribute their *public* keys before the
election. On election day, the voter (with help) would take a smart card
and go to one political party to get one private key and then to another
political party to get another private key (assuming at least two keys
and two political parties). They would go to the voting booth and cast
their votes and the votes would be signed by the two private keys. The
private keys would be thrown away and never used again. The signed
ballot would be put in the smart card and then the smart card would be
put into a server that stores the votes for that location (and later,
sent to the Sec of State). The card is read, and then erased so that it
can be used by another voter. The Secretary of State would count the
votes, and check the encryption signatures with the public list of
public keys distributed by the 2 (or more) parties. The list of public
keys and signed ballots can be made publically so that journalists,
political parties, and the general public can download the public keys
and signed ballots to verify the votes.

The key part of all this is there is no one person who has all the
private keys neccessary to vote (except the voter). The two parties
would hold the private keys very closely and it would be impossible
(i.e. very difficult) to forge a vote -- much less forge many votes.

The other benefit is there is no one authority that counts the votes.
Anyone can count the votes.

= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Tue Sep 30 23:17:08 2003

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