Re: Election Theory - How to assure a fair

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Fri Sep 26 2003 - 22:55:33 CDT

Clay Lenhart <> wrote:
|I think I have a system that prevents people from cheating.

Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why Clay's proposal is a
bad idea generally; and a number of additional reasons why it is VASTLY
out of scope of EVM2003.

His intention is certainly good, but the details don't work. For a
system that is FAR simpler, and has all the advantages and none of the
disadvantage of Clay's suggestions, see:

|What I propose is that each politcal party create 300 million private
|keys each (in USA) and distribute their *public* keys before the

There are more than two political parties in the USA. In fact, the
specific parties that appear on ballots vary by jurisdiction (usually
state) and contest.

Authorizing a set of parties to distribute keys in this manner is
extremely messy and error prone, at best. It's an invitation to fraud
and coersion at worst. In any event, this sort of change would require
major change to national election law; quite possibly constitutional
change in relation to state vs. federal jurisdictional authorities.
Needless to say, that's not the job of EVM2003.

In contrast, making a better voting machine works at a purely local
level. Vendors who join the OVC can sell the things district by
district, without requiring any fundamentally new legal frameworks.
Obviously, our machines are better than the commercial ones in all the
ways discussed previously, but at heart, we're just selling a turnkey
system like Diebold/ESS/Sequoia/etc do.

|On election day, the voter (with help) would take a smart card

Bad idea. This hardware could be lost, sold, stolen, etc. Voting
becomes contingent on distribution and retention of extra hardware.

|and go to one political party to get one private key and then to
|another political party to get another private key

Again, WAY more complication, and way more steps for the voter. This is
almost certainly an unconstitutional disenfranchisement of voters by the
extra burden. Even if it were to pass constitutional muster, few voters
would understand the meaning of the procedure, and trust in voting would
be eroded greatly.

|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.

Elections boards ABSOLUTELY will not accept such a complex procedure:
they will not understand it, and they probably cannot follow it

Yours, David...

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Received on Tue Sep 30 23:17:08 2003

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