TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Real Election Reform

Re: Real Election Reform

George Mitchell (
Sat, 08 Jan 2005 18:14:16 -0800

D Flint wrote:

> What do you think about this and have you seen this popular site before?

> This was taken from a web site

> How can we safeguard the integrity of each vote?

> Today we have technology that protects our financial systems, military
> weapon systems and national intelligent organizations. These proven
> systems can be combined in a way to issue serialized equipment to
> authorize personnel for the dates and hours needed. Each would have
> their own level of clearance to perform the tasks they are responsible
> for. Each action would be recorded and verified with a higher levels
> of network authority and again, only available during the hours and
> dates needed.

> Ballots would only be printed after the voter has cast
> their vote but before they leave the booth. If the voter made a
> mistake he could put the printed ballot into the booth's scanner for
> correction. All ballots scanned at the booth would go into a shredder
> and the voter could then correct his ballot on the screen and reprint
> his ballots.

> Once the voter accepts the printed ballot he submits his
> vote on the screen and takes the two ballots to the depository. So
> two computer generated, serialized and scanner perfect receipts of the
> completed ballot are printed.* One for the voter and one for the
> public record. This would eliminate all the extra ballots that could
> be used for unauthorized voting as well as any question of voter
> intent.

This kind of transparency is the hallmark of reliable financial
systems. Counterintuitively, it is anathema to the secret ballot.
Any kind of system which produces a copy of the voter's ballot for
the voter to take away from the polling place practiaclly guarantees
that someone will offer payment to the voter if only they bring back
a receipt which shows a "correct" vote.

Full disclosure: I write software for ballot tabulation. But I think
I am not alone in believing that this much transparencey is too much.
Printing a receipt which stays in the polling place is another matter.
-- George Mitchell (obfuscated email address)

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