Review by Marian Beddill, LWV Bellingham/Whatcom (speaking only for myself), of the Shamos paper:

Dr Shamos' ORIGINAL STATEMENT:
__________
"So-called voter-verifiable ballot systems are nothing of the kind. They simply replace electronic voting, which has a perfect security record, with a paper medium, which is easy to tamper with. The voter is given the false impression that he knows how his vote will be counted, which is simply untrue."
[[ Beddill comments within double-square brackets, and in RED.]]
_____________
"So-called voter-verifiable ballot systems are nothing of the kind. They simply replace electronic voting,
[[ FALSE - they add paper to electronic voting ]]

which has a perfect security record,
[[ FALSE - see the eight or more publicly-known cases ]]

with a paper medium, which is easy to tamper with.
[[ FALSE - but if true, then all mail-balloting must also be eliminated. ]]

The voter is given the false impression
[[ JUSTIFY - how is this impression conveyed to the voter, and why is it false? ]]

that he knows how his vote will be counted, which is simply untrue."

"The call for supposedly ‘voter-verifiable’ ballots is based on paranoia run amuck. We are asked to fear the possibility of an all-powerful programmer who is so clever that he can cause anyone in the U.S. to be elected yet no one else could ever be smart enough to catch him or even detect his crime. It's a scenario much better suited to a summer novel than a state legislature." "The call for supposedly ‘voter-verifiable’ ballots is based on paranoia run amuck.
[[ FALSE - see the eight or more publicly-known cases ]]

We are asked to fear the possibility of an all-powerful programmer who is so clever
[[ THE CERTAINTY - the trojan code is not complicated, plus there are other methods of tampering, such as back-door files editing and substitution of memory cards. ]]

that he can cause anyone in the U.S. to be elected yet no one else could ever be smart enough to catch him or even detect his crime.
[[ We still await an explanation from the paper-opponents, of how this detection will be accomplished in the absence of independent duplicate records (which are NOT the same as dependent duplicate records derived from the same source.) ]]

It's a scenario much better suited to a summer novel than a state legislature."
[[ I thought it was beneath the dignity of the LWV-US to base a serious argument on belittling the character of the opposition. ]]

"To achieve the false claim of ‘voter-verifiability’ we are asked to discard all the advances in computers and computer security of the 20th century -- advances so reliable that we regularly trust our lives and fortunes to them -- and return to the same paper voting methods that people have been using to fix elections for a hundred years." "To achieve the false claim of ‘voter-verifiability’ we are asked to discard all the advances in computers and computer security of the 20th century -- advances so reliable that we regularly trust our lives and fortunes to them -- and return
[[ The writer Dr. Shamos is seriously either uninformed or mis-informed. His premise of discarding computers is false - the proponents of the paper-trail encourage use of computers - not their elimination. ]]

to the same paper voting methods that people have been using to fix elections for a hundred years."

"I have nothing against voter-verifiable ballots except that they aren't voter-verifiable, have no greater security than any other physical ballot (including punched cards), are slow and inconvenient to use, maintain and count, disenfranchise blind and disabled voters and I possibly forgot to mention that no such ballots have actually been used or tested in any jurisdiction of significant size." "I have nothing against voter-verifiable ballots except that they aren't voter-verifiable,
[[ FALSE - The writer should be led to actually observe the system so he can see the ballot and understand its verification. ]]

have no greater security than any other physical ballot (including punched cards),
[[ TRUE - The security of all forms of paper ballots at polling places is effectively equivalent - but this is not a basis for opposition to one form of paper ballot ]]

are slow and inconvenient to use, maintain and count,
[[ FALSE - The system of paper management is nearly identical to the well-established system for mark-sense ballots, and better than that for punch-cards ]]

disenfranchise blind and disabled voters
[[ FALSE - Adding a printer to the DRE system has no effect on the actions of such voters - they might not even know it is there, yet all the other very-favorable features of sound and touch for blind and disabled voters remain unaltered. ]]

and I possibly forgot to mention that no such ballots have actually been used or tested in any jurisdiction of significant size."
[[ FALSE - But also irrelevant. Being a troglodyte is inconsistent with the general nature of the LWV-US. ]]

"If you can trust your life to the computers in an airplane, the Powerball can trust $240 million to a computer in a convenience store and banks can conduct their entire business with computers, then the same technology can work just fine for voting." "If you can trust your life to the computers in an airplane, the Powerball can trust $240 million to a computer in a convenience store and banks can conduct their entire business with computers, then the same technology can work just fine for voting."
[[ TRUE - We do not doubt that computerized voting can work, in fact many of the supporters of a paper-trail strongly support computerized voting.

What we are concerned with is (borrowing from the methods of criminal investigations) the presence of:
* motive,
* opportunity, and
* means;
and we find all three to be present. Ignored by Dr. Shamos' review is a major and convincing difference between computer systems in airplanes, Powerball and banks, is the relationship to the impact of the results (especially a false result), the ability to detect an anomaly, and the ability to rectify an error if discovered or even suspected.

In an airplane, the pilot has independent feedback from tactile sensory awareness and multiple instruments, and he can override the computer.

With Powerball, the winner holds a paper ticket for verification, exactly a "player-verified paper record".

With banks, every transaction has a source-document and a recipient-document for verification, and in case of an error, the transaction may be reviewed and reversed/corrected.

With ELECTIONS, the benefit of winning is enormously greater than these other situations and, after certification, THERE IS NO REASONABLE RECOURSE to correct even a proven error in vote counting and certification of a false-winner.
Michael Shamos PhD, JD
Professor at Carnegie Mellon University
Co-Director, Institute for eCommerce
Twenty years experience in testing and certifying voting systems


Rob Randhava, Policy Analyst
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights & LCCR Education Fund
1629 K St. NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20006
202-466-6058 (direct dial)
202-466-3435 (fax)

The Shamos statement therefore must be dismissed as without significant merit. ]]



[[ Marian Beddill, LWV Bellingham/Whatcom: ]]