[E-voting] The best VVAT is good for

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Mon Oct 24 17:07:57 IST 2005


I see your point, technically speaking, that a thing cannot be its own 
audit trail.  But the only way to provide that would be to connect 
voters to their vote, and do something like ring up a random sample of 
voters and say, "Did you really vote for Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxx #1 and 
Yyyyyyyyy Yyy #2 on your ballot?"  Which is forbidden by the 
Constitution.  (It's funny to imagine, though--horrifying as this would 
be. Plus the voter could say anything they wanted--what if it was a 
voter with a poor memory?!)

In other words, an "audit" in this technical sense would not be 
possible.  However, with the proposed paperless DRE we'd have /nothing/ 
to check that a voter has actually seen.  The voter can't see the actual 
bits and bytes, they only get to see a display.

I wish we could get some kind of hand counting done at the voting 
places.  I don't yet see any practical way of doing this.  As a next 
best solution, at least 2 observers should accompany the Gardai with the 
ballot box to the count centre.


Brian O'Byrne wrote:

>A VVAT is a little more than that.
>You described something voter verified, but to be an audit trail it 
>must be independent, persistent, immutable and possible to reconcile 
>against the vote that is counted.
>A DRE machine that displays the vote on-screen and asks the voter to 
>confirm the vote before recording it is arguably 'a mechanism by 
>which the voter has verified the correct recording of their vote', 
>but there is no audit trail.
>To be very pedantic about it the VVPB we currently use is also not an 
>audit trail. Information security professionals will talk about an 
>audit trail having failure modes different to the thing being audited 
>(or better: having no common failure modes), so a thing cannot be its 
>own audit trail.

More information about the E-voting mailing list