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Verifiable Voting

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  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    I was thinking about how to go about solving the e-voting paper trail problem.  Why not have e-ballot with a receipt?  The idea would work like this: You would have a ballot, that you would rip in half.  Each side has the same number on it, both of which would be covered by a scratch-off material, like a lotto ticket. After placing your vote, the machine would record your selections along with the number on the ballot. When you got home, you could go to a website, enter your district, and verify that the results matched what you had chosen.

     

    The website could list all of the votes in your district, to preserve, anonymity. So, you wouldn't have to search for your number and expose your identity.

     

    I'm sure that I've missed something obvious here, can anyone tell me what it might be?

  • User profile image
    Bass

    re: The whole "verify your vote on a website" thing.

    Being able to trace a vote to a person could lead to future political repression. So it's imperative that the government would not be able to match a vote to a person. The whole "list the whole district" might not work with computer savvy people who wouldn't know how to search a website with possibly millions of records.

     

    Also, there what would stop this website from outright lying about who voted? IE. Zombie votes?

     

    Eg: 1039478575 voted for Joe Blow, but 1039478575 was just a non existent person added by the corrupt sysadmins.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    Bass said:

    re: The whole "verify your vote on a website" thing.

    Being able to trace a vote to a person could lead to future political repression. So it's imperative that the government would not be able to match a vote to a person. The whole "list the whole district" might not work with computer savvy people who wouldn't know how to search a website with possibly millions of records.

     

    Also, there what would stop this website from outright lying about who voted? IE. Zombie votes?

     

    Eg: 1039478575 voted for Joe Blow, but 1039478575 was just a non existent person added by the corrupt sysadmins.

    Even a feeble person can find a listing in a phone book, and phone books typically have many more records than your voting district would. In addition, computers are no more difficult to use than phone books.

     

    A district would have a public participation count. If you knew that your vote was recorded correctly and the count was reasonable, then a reasonable person would accept the results as legitimate. 

     

     

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    This kind of concept has been suggested before. But I think the large counter to it is simply, if you're going to go to all this trouble then why not just keep paper votes?

     

    It would work. But is it cost effective to have eVoting at all?

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    JoshRoss said:
    Bass said:
    *snip*

    Even a feeble person can find a listing in a phone book, and phone books typically have many more records than your voting district would. In addition, computers are no more difficult to use than phone books.

     

    A district would have a public participation count. If you knew that your vote was recorded correctly and the count was reasonable, then a reasonable person would accept the results as legitimate. 

     

     

    Creating a mechanism that would allow voters to verify their vote after the election would have another adverse effect: votes could be sold and bought quite effectively. Even blackmailing or any other kind of coercion would become possible.

    This is the reason why at least a few countries forbid cell phones and cameras in the voting booth.

     

     

     

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    I don't see the point of this. I never feel that my vote was somehow changed or not counted after an election.

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    spivonious said:

    I don't see the point of this. I never feel that my vote was somehow changed or not counted after an election.

    A fair few people believe that elections in the US recently have been suspect. They wouldn't even allow observers from the EU in to monitor the elections.

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    ManipUni said:
    spivonious said:
    *snip*

    A fair few people believe that elections in the US recently have been suspect. They wouldn't even allow observers from the EU in to monitor the elections.

    Yeah they should let the EU observe what democracy is, maybe they'd learn something.  But seriously, I'd love to hear the rationale behind the EU observing US elections.  Last I checked the US wasn't in Europe.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    Blue Ink said:
    JoshRoss said:
    *snip*

    Creating a mechanism that would allow voters to verify their vote after the election would have another adverse effect: votes could be sold and bought quite effectively. Even blackmailing or any other kind of coercion would become possible.

    This is the reason why at least a few countries forbid cell phones and cameras in the voting booth.

     

     

     

    The coercion angle is the best reason that I have seen against this idea, for third-world nations. I wonder how much of this kind of thing happens in industrial nations? You would need both very low voter turn-out and highly organized corruption. It is easier to market a bad politician to the electorate than it is to organize a mass fraud without marketing.

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    CreamFilling512 said:
    ManipUni said:
    *snip*

    Yeah they should let the EU observe what democracy is, maybe they'd learn something.  But seriously, I'd love to hear the rationale behind the EU observing US elections.  Last I checked the US wasn't in Europe.

    The huge amount of fraud in the US elections?

     

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    JoshRoss said:
    Blue Ink said:
    *snip*

    The coercion angle is the best reason that I have seen against this idea, for third-world nations. I wonder how much of this kind of thing happens in industrial nations? You would need both very low voter turn-out and highly organized corruption. It is easier to market a bad politician to the electorate than it is to organize a mass fraud without marketing.

    Yes, probably nobody could ever bribe or strongarm enough people in any general election to make a difference. Local elections are a different story, even in industrial countries... but that's probably not the worst concern.

     

    There are other kinds of pressure that must be faced, including peers, friends, family in general and spouses in particular. This might seem outlandish, but it's a fact that people do lie about their voting habit... 5-10% is not unheard of in exit polls, go figure where the rate goes when the veil of anonimity is lifted.

    I'm not a sociologist, so I don't know if people would rather cast a vote they can stand up to in public (thus skewing the election results) or keep voting following their conscience (possibly making divorce lawyers happy in the process).

    Either way I don't think that verifiability would justify the consequences.

     

     

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss
  • User profile image
    Maurits

    I don't understand the "computer voting is easy to manipulate" arguments.  Sure, it may be true... but isn't it even easier to manipulate non-computer voting?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    , Maurits wrote

    I don't understand the "computer voting is easy to manipulate" arguments.  Sure, it may be true... but isn't it even easier to manipulate non-computer voting?

    Depends on who has oversight over the elections. Given they're mostly old people without much of a clue about computers, someone could easily tamper with an electronic voting machine in a clandestine manner without someone noticing anything physical going on (assuming there isn't any real cryptographic protection of the voting system itself), whereas with paper ballots they have to be put into a physical box that always has at lreast two people watching over it: from when its installed to when it's upturned for counting.

    And because manual paper counting is done independently by many people physically counting ballots as opposed to a single electronic system. So 'one man' cannot directly tamper with the results of a paper ballot (at most maybe taint the results of a single polling centre) whereas with electronic systems that are suitably networked there's a lot more room for attack.

  • User profile image
    JoshRoss

    @Maurits: I think that it is a matter of scale; technology in general is empowering. With non-computer voting, if you want to manipulate the results you need a bunch of people. With computer voting, you just need one smart guy or gal. 

    -Josh

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