[E-voting] Re: Voter Verified Audit Trail - Insight from US

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Mon Aug 21 11:23:50 IST 2006

Colm MacCarthaigh wrote:
 > On Mon, Aug 21, 2006 at 10:23:41AM +0100, Michael McMahon wrote:
 >> I agree that the logistics of counting this type of paper ballot
 >> is difficult. But, I've always held the view that they shouldn't be 
 >> Instead, a random sample should be checked against  the official file
 >> of electronic votes (which has to be published).
 > One of the very early conclusions of the CEV was that publishing the
 > record is pretty dubious and possibly unconstitutional, the problem
 > being that it infringes upon the secrecy of the ballot and that the
 > large number of vote permutations means that coercion becomes a
 > possibility.
That is true, but this is what they said in the latest report:

"It has already been noted by the Commission in its interim report that 
publication of the counted
ballots under electronic voting as proposed could theoretically operate 
to diminish the secrecy of the
ballot if it were possible for a voter to prove how they had voted by 
recording a unique "signature"
in the sequence of their lower order preferences. *This can be avoided* 
if only the higher order
preferences of each vote that were necessary to carry out the count 
under the chosen system were
published, thus rendering the electronic ballots anonymous. The 
Commission has further noted that
secrecy of the ballot in this context must now be preserved in 
accordance with section 30(2) of the
Electoral (Amendment) Act 2004, enacted following its interim report."

Personally, I think with the safeguard as described above in place, it 
would survive a legal challenge.
You would also have to consider the equivalent risks in the existing 
system, eg. taking photos in the polling
booth with mobile phone cameras etc. A 100% guarantee of secrecy is not 


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