[E-voting] publishing the votes without compromising secrecy

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Wed Jul 14 11:06:02 IST 2004

Margaret McGaley wrote:
> If you're going to computerise the count process, it would be much better to
> remove the random selection of surpluses. Randomness is hard to do well on a
> computer, and biasing the "random" selection to influence the result would be
> much easier.

Maybe Fergals point deals with this. But in any case, I still believe the
issue is over blown.

Even if someone had complete control over the random number generator,
it could not influence the outcome of the vast majority of elections.

Also, since it should be possible to know which (if any) election outcomes
could possibly be affected, this would allow close scrutiny
of these elections. It is interesting that it is at least possible
to do this with a computer. I have no idea how you would
investigate bias in the old mixing system.


> Margaret
> On Wed, Jul 14, 2004 at 12:19:07AM +0100, Michael McMahon wrote:
>>What's the catch? There is one small catch with this. Basically
>>this works with the existing counting rules, but would not
>>work with fractional surplus distribution because with that
>>system every preference on every ballot is looked at (afaik).
>>Personally, I don't see this as a problem because the whole
>>issue of random-surplus-distribution (being a problem) is a
>>red-herring. The paper by Gary Maguire and Helmer Aslaksen
>>mentions only 5 elections that had a probability greater
>>than 10% where the result might be influenced by random-selection.
>>Certainly, none of the three races already done electronically
>>were affected, and it will be possible to prove it one way
>>or the other for any electronic election in the future.

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