[E-voting] Compulsory voting

Craig Burton caburt at alphalink.com.au
Sun Sep 11 12:36:54 IST 2005

I still assert that bit flipping (if we constrain our argument to this 
random risk) is a problem which affects all computers everywhere.  If it 
was a serious problem (perhaps due to solar flares) we'd have to rely a 
lot less on computers for everything, PhD theses, computer games etc as 
you can't flip a lot of bits in a computer without crashing something 
(as you assert : different bits have more importance than others bits).
The risk has necessitated redundant hardware and error correcting 
hardware in critical systems.  Most remote voting systems have lots of 
redundant hardware at the server end where all the votes go.  The 
tallying should and is done more than once on more than one machine, 
this being pretty quick and easy to execute.
In comparison, I can't accept paper vote processing is entirely linear 
and all forms of error affect one vote.  This would imply that no single 
vote is processed in any way with any other single vote anywhere.  Paper 
votes are boxes and packaged, sorted and piled at lots of places.  In a 
PR count they are counted and heaped together several times.  Presumably 
single errors involving fire or water also affect many votes.


Fergal Daly wrote:

> On 9/11/05, *Ciaran Quinn* <election at polarbears.com 
> <mailto:election at polarbears.com>> wrote:
>     Fergal Daly wrote:
>     >
>     > 1 Errors in counting paper votes are almost always on the order of
>     > single votes and even when multiple errors occur they are very
>     > unlikely to accumulate in one particular direction. The "distance"
>     > between humand counted votes and actually cast votes is at most
>     equal
>     > to the number of errors but is likely to be smaller.
>     There was an error discovered in one of the Fermanagh-South Tyrone
>     elections in the 80's in which 1000 Nationalist votes had been
>     counted
>     for the Unionist candidate
> I don't think that contradicts what I'm saying. To achieve that 1000 
> vote error required 1000 errors. Of course, if it happened because 
> they were dealing with bundles of 1000 and 1 of the bundles was 
> misassigned then it was just 1 error. However at the bundles of 1000 
> stage, you can afford to recheck many times.
> The point is that for the 999 out of every 1000 steps in the manual 
> process the maximum error that can be introduced is 1, whereas on a 
> computer, an arbirarily large error can be introduced at every single 
> step.
> F
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