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Baby Steps for Transparency in Voting Systems

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1 Response

  1. It certainly is a baby step, on a long road indeed. My major in college was computer engineering, so I’m not exactly biased against using computers to accomplish things, but using computers for voting does have some severe problems.

    1. The software may be open to inspection, but how do we know the software inspected is actually running on the voting machines on election night?

    2. If only an electronic record of the vote is retained, then that record may be hacked, even if originally recorded properly.

    3. A system could be genuinely secure, but not in a way the average voter would be capable of understanding, and thus, they’d have no reason to be confident of it.

    4. We need to keep in mind that we’re not just securing the ballots against outside attack, we’re securing them against *inside* attack, as well. Foolish as it may be, elections are administered in this country by political partisans.

    I would suggest that the appropriate approach is to use the electronics only as a fancy ‘pencil’ with which to fill out a standard, machine and *human* readable paper ballot, which would be the actual record of the vote. The largest problem with the “fill in the circle” paper ballots is simply the failure of the voter to properly mark the ballot. In all other respects, the paper ballot, checked for under and over votes at the time it’s inserted into the ballot box, is ideal in terms of difficulty in hacking, permanency of the physical record, and human readability.