[E-voting] The best VVAT is good for

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Wed Oct 26 13:08:49 IST 2005


Craig Burton wrote:

> "The present paper ballot system incorporates a voter verified audit 
> trail. The ballot paper issued
> to each voter is in the exclusive and uninterrupted control of the 
> voter from the time it is franked
> to the time it is dropped into the ballot box, and it is subsequently 
> secured by well-established
> procedural controls. The voter is justifiably certain that the ballot 
> paper contains only the marks
> he/she has made on it. Although the ballot paper is principally used 
> for the initial counting, it
> is also the final authoritative record of the voter’s preferences."
>
> The majority of people can't know their votes made it. A 
> representative sample probably can't know their votes made it.
> An individual would have to pursue the ballot box all the way to the 
> counting room, stand close to a counter, then be sure the counter read 
> your vote options correctly for each redistribution. Or be happy with 
> the ERO's decision on your ambiguous markings.
> It doesn't scale, it's not a practical VVAT solution which is 
> available to any and all.
>
> The vast majority have to trust others.


Craig,

Every candidate in an election has the ability to verify that their 
votes get counted correctly
because they can watch the boxes being opened and they get to see *all* 
the votes.

The voters only have to trust the candidate(s) they voted for to look 
out for the own
self-interest. So unless you are suggesting that candidates don't care 
about getting
elected, then it is pretty reasonable for the voters to trust the 
candidates in this way.
Don't forget the only influence the candidates have over the process is 
to ensure
that their votes get counted right. They don't have any possibility to 
tamper with
their own or other candidates votes.

What you are advocating is that voters have to trust all manner of 
people who
are *not* directly involved in the election and who *do* have the 
possibility
to tamper with the votes.

Let me repeat that.

1. The auditors and e-voting developers collectively can tamper with any 
election.
Note, you said that voters have to trust the auditors, so please don't 
try to back track on this.

2. The voters and the candidates collectively *cannot* tamper with any 
election.
They can just take steps to ensure that their votes are counted right.

Before we even get to argue about quantifying
the level of risk associated with 1, you surely accept that there is 
more risk associated
with 1. compared to 2.

You should be able to answer this question with just a yes or no. I'm 
not looking
for your opinion on the absolute levels of risk, just the relative risk 
of the two
scenarios.

Regards,
Michael.



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