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Trusting E-Voting

Salon has an article by Farhad Manjoo recounting how the venerable IEEE’s committee on electronic voting standards went off the rails:

Is the voting equipment industry trying to silence its opponents in a standards group that has traditionally been committed to openness? That’s hard to say definitively … People have been given conflicting and confusing instructions on how to join the group; some members appear to have been accorded preferential treatment; the committee’s leaders have used some technically legal but not very nice parliamentary procedures to prevent opponents from expressing their views; and when critics of the industry have managed to make comments, they appear to have been summarily ignored.

…But some members of the committee are reluctant to put all of the blame on voting industry officials. One person who asked not to be identified said that advocates for strong security systems in voting machines seemed reluctant to work with others in the group and were only interested in pushing a “political agenda.”

Here’s a page (by David Dill) that clearly explains the e-voting issue and what a “voter-verifiable” process might look like: the voter gets to see the paper record of her vote before she presses the electronic plunger to record it.

And here’s an EFF petition.

3 Responses to “Trusting E-Voting”

  1. I’ve been following this issue more and more closely lately. It seems to me that even the voter verified systems could have some opportunity for mistakes and fraud unless some sort of end-to-end systems is used. The voter verification would old be one part of the system, and it would be best if the verification record were also collected at the poling place as a physical record of votes cast that could be recounted.

    Primarily, I don’t see how any voting system can be certified without complete design disclosure. This is a perfect application of Open Source design for everything from the hardware to the complete source code of the system. The whole thing can be designed with cryptological sub-systems with verifiable key tokens to validate all of the data involved (i.e. machine code, configuration and ballot information to prevent tampering with the voting process and on all vote tally and completed ballot data to prevent tampering with the count.

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