[E-voting] Re: [European-evoting] Interesting ....

Michael McMahon michael at hexmedia.com
Tue Jan 22 17:26:38 GMT 2008

Catherine Ansbro wrote:
> Good points, John.  It's important to get the facts first, before 
> jumping to conclusions based on partial information.
> To this I will add that for perhaps the first time, people on the 
> ground are looking at the chain of custody of the ballots in a primary 
> election.  What they are finding isn't pretty:
> Boxes arriving at the counting centre with big slits in them
> Boxes with "seals" that don't seal--that can be peeled off and 
> reapplied like post-it notes
> Boxes with crumpled, damaged "seals"
> Boxes where you can remove the ballots out of the bottom, leaving the 
> "seal" untouched (the bottom has no "seal" at all)
> Boxes that have been used & reused and have multiple old labels and 
> "seals"
> Boxes that are supposed (by law) to be transported by state troopers, 
> but in fact, year after year, are transported by "Hoppy" and 
> "Butch"--and they don't even their real names.
> Boxes that are supposed to go directly from the secure local polling 
> stations to the central location for the recount, are driven instead 
> to a mysterious rural crossroads rendezvous, at which, after a quick 
> conversation,
It strikes me that the most likely cause of the incidents above is 
people just cutting corners
in order to save time and effort. Though I imagine that the procedures 
are probably enforced
a bit more rigorously for the "real"  (ie. official, public) elections 
later in the year.

Nevertheless, I did see issues at the last Irish general election. At 
the count I watched, the ballot
boxes were very flimsy, and actually appeared to be open before the 
count started. Then
you have the normal practice of ballot boxes being left at the count 
centres overnight before
the count. So, while the system works, it's far from perfect.

But, can all of this not be seen as an argument in favour of personally 
verifiable electronic voting?
By taking much of the drudgery out of it, you can eliminate a lot of 
this "corner cutting".
Electronic votes are much easier to keep secure than paper ones.
Then, if it's possible for people to prove that their own vote was 
counted correctly (or not), the
motivation for cheating disappears, and the motivation to implement a 
reliable system is very high.

- Michael.

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