[E-voting] intriguing possibilities using digial scanners

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Sun Sep 11 12:14:34 IST 2005


Thanks very much for this.  I've posted your comment on the the BBV 
website.  I didn't include your name to protect your privacy--not 
because I didn't want to acknowledge your important contribution.  (Let 
me know if you'd like me to edit the post and include your name.)

Once again technology takes a nosedive as a credible solution!  I'm not 
surprised.  I was trying hard to keep an open mind but knew I didn't 
have the technical expertise to take a position.

The verification-of-the-verification --  all of which can be falsified 
-- is a very important point.


Marian Beddill wrote:

> Catherine et al;
> We discussed digital images at a recent forum in my city, at which Bev 
> Harris (of BBV) was one of the panelists. 
> In our state (Washington {Seattle}) somebody wrote into law many years 
> ago that a computer "record" has the value of a "cast ballot".  I was 
> astounded when I saw that, obviously the work of someone setting the 
> stage for internet and DRE voting. 
> Thus such a digital image, being by any standard a "computer record", 
> could be considered "the ballot".  We just barely escaped in recent 
> years language which would have made that able to trump even the 
> presence of a voter-verifiable paper ballot, but it still MAY BE used, 
> and that permission is what allows paperless DRE's to be used. 
> That leads me to the review of the ability to tamper with such a 
> digital image file.  Simple software may edit an image, such as the 
> common TIFF or JPEG files, thus such a record could easily have the 
> voter intent subverted by changing the file after the voter cast their 
> ballot.  Such a subversion could happen at any place in the 
> chain-of-custody of the image, and I believe that it would be very 
> difficult to prevent or even detect such edits.
> It is true that files may have "signatures" or tags like the older CRC 
> number either internally or externally to the image file. But that 
> itself only constitutes yet another "computer record" which itself 
> could be subverted.  And the additional security management to verify 
> such coding would be a burden on the election staff - subject to human 
> failure allowing the images to be changed.
> Marian Beddill
> At 9/10/2005  04:14 PM, Catherine Ansbro wrote:
>> Have a look at www.blackboxvoting.org 
>> <http://www.blackboxvoting.org/> - new items re: optical scanning.
>> Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti has apparently developed some 
>> new methodology using existing optical scanners which produce a 
>> digital image.  (This doesn't relate to older scanners or ones that 
>> use infrared technology.)  Apparently he's developed open source 
>> software.  In the USA a scanned image of a ballot is considered to be 
>> a public record so at least in theory people should be able to get a 
>> copy of all the ballot images, and count them for themselves, with or 
>> without software.
>> Could this be of interest here?  Snag--I don't think we have any 
>> similar rules here relating to /images/ of ballots as public records.
>> Catherine
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