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

Fergal Daly fergal at esatclear.ie
Mon Aug 21 15:15:43 IST 2006

On 21/08/06, Michael McMahon <michael at hexmedia.com> wrote:
> 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
> counted.
>  >> 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.

There are usually enough no-hope candidates that the signature can be
embedded in your first preferences with no danger to your real prefs.

> 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
> attainable.

A photo of a ballot is not eveidence of anything except that at one
point I had the ballot paper in the photo. It does not mean that the
ballot paper I put in the box was the one in the photo,


> Michael
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