Needed: Voting Security and Election Results Credibility
One of Marian's Fundamental Four
No Leaky Buckets !
(and no SPAM from us) ---
"If you cannot trust the way your votes are counted, nothing much else in politics matters!"
Home |  Internet Voting |  Section Summaries |  All The Holes |  Publications |  Demos |  Reference-Materials |  Legislative |  Brazil 

- No Internet Voting! -
The simple story.
Democracy: Which characteristic do you agree to give up?

Which characteristic of our democracy and our election system, do you agree to give up, in order to use internet voting?

I hear two arguments favoring internet voting: ballots from the troops (and citizens) overseas now may get back too late -- and -- internet voting will give us faster results. Speed!

The troops argument is spurious - the military has the ability to courier ballots back to the US. And it is obviously physically possible to diplomatic-courier citizen ballots back - if there are procedural snags, then resolve them!

It seems to be agreed by most of those involved, that with internet voting it is impossible to have both privacy of the secret ballot, and auditability of the election.

So, which one is it OK for everyone to give up, as the requirement to perhaps gain a day or two in the speed of reporting interim, unofficial results? The secret ballot? Or auditability of the election?
  • If America gives up the secret ballot, then anyone will know how you voted, and be able to take you to task for "voting wrong". Your family - your bosses - your neighbors - your staff and employees - your health-care providers, etc will all know. Anybody. And they can then "punish" you for voting wrong. Not in my America.
  • If America gives up auditability of the elections, then it does not matter who you tried to vote for - the operators of the election system will be able to announce the desired outcome and name the winner. Any and all attempts to display verifications - matches of votes, totals and results, all derive from a basic data set whose content can not be verified.
This is about as simple as I can make it.

To keep democracy, reject internet voting.


 
- February '08 -
- Sounds like there Will Be No Internet Voting in WA This Year!

Hot news from Olympia (via John Gideon; votersunite.org ) says this bill died in Committee!

Internet Voting cannot have
both Secrecy and Certainty

But the report suggests that COSTS to do the Internet thing was the determining factor that stopped this attempt! So, Remember - Money talks - out of both sides of its mouth!

The Washington State Legislature had a bill introduced to start Internet Voting. The Bill: SHB-1624

BUT!
  • Say you voted for Suzie Jones.
  • Say that the computerized tally system recorded your vote for John Smith.
  • How would you or anybody know that the totals were therefore wrong?
  • And that, thus, if enough were flipped, the election had been stolen?
The secret ballot - privacy of the votes cast - is a major, fundamental difference between voting and a business transaction. Business has confirming receipts produced at both ends of a transaction. In business, if there is any doubt - either party can pose a challenge, bring forward their evidence (the receipts) make them public, and display proof of an irregularity, if there is one.

But in order to do that (a double-checking - or "auditing") in an election system, the votes have to be made public. But a core characteristic of a democracy is the secret ballot. It is not possible to have a secret ballot AND a public ballot at the same time on the same ballot. And don't give me a reply about printing a receipt at the voter's terminal - that loses the secrecy, and is an open door for dominator-coercion and outright vote-selling.

Thus, keeping democracy requires keeping the secret ballot, which requires that there be no way for any person other than the voter to know for whom the votes on the ballots were cast - and also requires that there be no possibility that the information on the individual, secret ballot can be modified. Computerized systems without a paper record cannot provide that requirement. And a record that can be traced to the voter fails the democracy test of a secret ballot.

I, too, have been programming for decades - starting with Assembler - near-machine-language code on the early IBM's in the 1960's. So I know and agree that a program CAN BE written to do the ballot tally job right.

But I also know that programs have two characteristics that can be "death" to voting system integrity - a program can modify itself while running (overwrite command items in memory), and external information may be read and used in a way to cause that modification, like: =IF(specific item is TRUE), THEN(fiddle with the results), ELSE(leave it valid).

Well, your reply might be that somebody (let's say, a "Citizen Inspector") might have to check the program, to be sure it is doing the job right. And my response is that the act of doing that checking would require that said Inspector be given keyboard ADMIN-access to the computer WHILE IT IS RUNNING during the election to see just what it IS doing, live! Before starting the election is not good enough, nor is checking it after the tally is finished, since programs have the ability to change themselves on the fly. And the snag on an outsider having ADMIN-access to the program while running, is again the open door for mischief - call it fraud.
  • Thus, all-digital voting, in a secret-ballot democracy, cannot be accepted.
  • Thus, Internet voting, in a secret-ballot democracy, cannot be accepted.

And, what can and must be used in a secret-ballot democracy, is a VVPB, verified by the voter while still in the process of voting; then used after the tally and before the certification, to double-check ("audit") the results of the tally. That gives us both the privacy and the certainty - so long as the physical management of those ballots is also done adequately - which is another topic.

Marian Beddill
http://noleakybuckets.org/

The Bill: SHB-1624

The Report

The Bill cancels these fundamental voting security procedures, if using the internet:
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=29A.12
- February '08 -
A Dangerous Experiment - Ongoing Now!!
The Democratic Party's Dangerous Experiment is actively running right now - Voting on the Internet!

Can you imagine this? Well, more than just imagining - believe it -- it is real.

Here is the article about this next push for internet voting:
original: - at Vote Trust USA (VoteTrustUSA.org)
Related website: ServeSecurityReport.org

And, with my knowledge of Brazil and their situation, I have also prepared a translation of this article into Portuguese.
- November '07 -
The Costs of Hand Counting
The fundamental weakness of computerized voting and counting is the lack of transparency. What does the alternative and the double-checking method (HCPB) cost? Read about it.
Calculate it yourself
Download a calculator - XLS

- August '07 -
E-Voting in Brazil - The Risks to Democracy
link to paper
"....Brazil's introduction of e-voting [in 2002] offers a cautionary tale of supply-driven technological implication. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the introduction of e-voting in Brazil is highly risky to democracy due to the lack of emphasis on security and the lack of a socially informed and socially driven approach to technological innovation...."
Rodrigues, Alexander & Batista
http://NoLeakyBuckets.org/ by Marian Beddill, an independent citizen activist in Whatcom County, WA - c: [an error occurred while processing this directive] last edited:  2007-12-16