[E-voting] Study: Two-Thirds of Voters Fail to Notice Vote-Flipping on Touch-Screen DRE Voting Systems

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Thu Jun 14 10:42:22 IST 2007


A.J.Delaney at brighton.ac.uk wrote:
> Catherine,
> On Thu, 2007-06-14 at 00:17 +0100, Catherine Ansbro wrote:
>   
>> *Study: Two-Thirds of Voters Fail to Notice Vote-Flipping on 
>> Touch-Screen DRE Voting Systems
>> *
>> If Voters Don't Notice Incorrect Votes on The Review Screen in Front of 
>> Their Face, Why Would They Notice it on a So-Called 'Paper Trail' 
>> Printed Afterward?
>>     
> Well it seems that 1/3 of voters would :)  Could one, cynically, restate
> this as "1/3 of voters expect an electronic system to fail, so they
> watch for errors"?
>
> I think the difference is between the possible and impossible.  It is
> possible to audit an election where the primary record of voter
> intention is a piece of paper.  That audit could be carried out by the
> 1/3 of watchful voters or an independent third party.
>
> It is impossible, without lots of hand-waving and trust, to audit an
> election where the primary record of voter intention is electronic.
>   
The problem with DRE vote flipping is that when the machine is caught,
the voter will be able to correct the situation, in that particular 
instance,
but there will be no documentary  evidence that the machine tried to cheat.
In many cases, the voters will just think  they made a mistake and even 
if they
are sure, they won't be able to prove it.
And for the other voters, who did not notice the vote being flipped,
then their vote has been stolen, and cannot be caught in an audit.
So, it's a win/win situation for the malicious DRE.

One way to mitigate the problem might be to design DRE
user interfaces with a shorter feedback loop.
In other words, rather than a single review procedure
at the end of vote selection, the voter makes each selection,
and the DRE has to print something out, which commits it to
the voters selection, there and then. This makes it easier for voters
to notice if a selection has been flipped, and specifically, commits the DRE
so that if it does flip a vote, then it will be caught in the audit.

I think to an extent, the problem would be reduced, with increasing
familiarity over time, but the bottom line, is that DREs with VVPAT
need to solve this problem.

- Michael.



More information about the E-voting mailing list