Re: SB 1438 is law in CA...

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Thu Sep 30 2004 - 14:04:40 CDT

Hi, Doug. I understand the point you are making. But I think the subtlety
of such a point can be lost in the political debate.

For the sake of argument suppose that you have no evidence or that you have
no evidence of any kind of tampering with either the paper or electronic
versions. The question then is, if they differ, which should be considered
the official result?

It seems to me that the only logical response is the paper ballots, because
they have been verified by the voters. And I think that that's what our
laws *should* say.

Do you agree?

Regards,
Barbara

On 9/30/04 10:44, "Douglas W. Jones" <jones@cs.uiowa.edu> wrote:

>
> On Sep 29, 2004, at 4:02 PM, Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) wrote:
>
>> Perhaps I'm missing something, but this doesn't feel right to me. If
>> the position is that the paper is the true ballot, and the electronic
>> record is a processing step in computing the results, it's clear to me
>> how things work. That is, you get the electronic results almost
>> immediately, and then if there's a question (or when you do your
>> regular audits) you can go to the paper record and verify that the
>> electronic results mirror the actual votes cast, and if they don't,
>> there's no question about which is "right".
>
> If they disagree, all you are certain of is that one or the other
> is wrong. Until you look more closely, you have no basis for
> concluding that one or the other is right.
>
> You must investigate such things as the chain of custody. If the
> paper ballots spent the night in the home of one pollworker,
> while the electronic record has strong cryptographic protection
> that makes it extremely unlikely that it has been tampered with,
> you'll probably want to be very careful about the paper ballots.
>
> If the paper ballots were brought immediately to the county
> election headquarters in the joint custody of two pollworkers
> representing opposing parties, but the electronic records were
> not cryptographically protected, the paper may well be the more
> reliable.
>
> However, in both cases, you're strongly advised to check if there
> is other evidence to corraborate one or the other. For example,
> if the number of electronic ballots matches the number of signatures
> in the pollbook but not the number of paper ballots, there's good
> reason to investigate the possibility of paper records having been
> added or destroyed.
>
> Yes, the voter verified paper ballot, if authentic, is an original
> document stating the voter's intent, while the electronic records
> are copies, but authenticity can only be assumed if the chain of
> custody is unbroken and properly maintained. Copies can trump what
> appear to be original documents if there is evidence that the originals
> have been tampered with. Originals can be used to show that copies
> were made inaccurately. But, because all of these determinations
> are made after the fact, secondary evidence of the chain of custody
> and secondary corraborating evidence must be used to determine
> which is authentic and which has been tampered with.
>
> Doug Jones
> jones@cs.uiowa.edu
>
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Received on Thu Sep 30 23:17:10 2004

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