[EM] Re: touch screen voting machines

David GLAUDE dglaude at gmx.net
Tue Nov 11 17:02:02 PST 2003

This list is about "advance voting technique"...

My question to this list is wich of those technique can be used in large 
scale election using only manual counting and computing of the result.

I see too many peaple that push e-voting in order to introduce "complex" 
counting system. Where I think for election complexity is the opponent 
of transparency, security and clear understanding on the effect of my 
vote on the potential result.

Eron Lloyd wrote:

>>In Belgium when paper voting, I have the right to draw a little house or
>>a mickey mouse (without beeing affraid of Disney corporation for
>>copyright violation since my vote is anonymous). Of course my vote is
>>not valid... but I expressed my fealing. This is important in a country
>>where voting is mandatory.
>>In Belgium when e-voting (magnetic card), it is not possible to draw
>>anything or vote in an invalid way. Actually you can only vote blanc
>>(wich is technicaly the same but not from a psychological point of view).
> Error-free simply meaning it should accurately reflect the voter's intent.

If my intent is to fill every option (even if they contradict each 
other)... You want to use ratio button where only one choice is 
possible... I want check-box for all option (actually I want paper and pen).

> There should still be mechanisms to voice dissent, which can come in the form 
> of write-ins (also easy using a computer interface) or what should be 
> required on every ballot line, the "None of the Above" option.

"None of the Above" is "White" or "Blanc" voting.

> This also 
> would be recorded on the resulting paper reciept. If you have other ideas, 
> like walking up to an official and putting a lighter to your ballot, that's 
> fine by me.

This actually one of the only way in Belgium to make your vote counted 
as NULL. You have to make it not anonymous (like writing your name on it).

I was working at the pooling station where 1100 peaple had to vote. One 
hangry computer aware citizen did not want to vote... and I gave him the 
only possible solution to his problem (He wanted to vote NULL to protest 
against the use of computer for election).

I was the second one to protest... but I had a formal lettre with me and 
a carbon copy to keep a trace. ;-)

Now out of the 1100 to come, only 1000 came.
So it is actually 0,2% that were against e-voting!

> You mentioned that voting is mandatory. This is very interesting. What 
> penalties apply if you don't vote, and what is the resulting turnout 
> percentile?

For the exact number of peaple voting... please check (in french):
<<Pascal DELWIT, Des élections sans électeurs ? Causes et conséquences 
de l'abstention aux élections européennes de juin 1999, Les Cahiers du 
Cevipol, vol. 99, n°3, 1999. en format PDF, en format ZIP (405 Ko)>>

Belgium, Grece, Luxembourg have mandatory voting.
[In Italy it is "almost mandatory"(???).]

                              1979  1984  1989  1994  1999
CE-UE (vote non obligatoire) 61,29 58,99 54,19 55,19 48,00
CE-UE(vote obligatoire)      91,23 86,21 84,94 79,71 79,36

EU 1999 election % of vote / citizen supposed to vote
Belgique   91,29 92,19 90,73 90,56 90,96
Grèce            80,54 79,97 71,24 70,27
Luxembourg 88,90 88,80 87,60 88,54 86,63

EU 1999 election % of valid vote / citizen supposed to vote
Belgique   80,04 82,09 83,13 82,74 84,74
Grèce            80,54 79,97 71,24 70,27
Luxembourg 80,30 80,60 78,60 79,74 79,13

For Belgium I think.
Arround 10% of the citizen do not present themself to vote.
Arround 5% of the citizen voting do vote 'blanc' or 'NULL'.

In Belgium (and in Greece) no penalty are practicaly applyed...

But in Belgium penalty are as far as I know...
If you get notified that you did not vote for the 3rd time, then 
financial and potential prison. I think that if you continue not to 
vote... then you loose your citizen right to vote. ;-) LoL.

It is like punishing tentative scuicide by death penalty.

> Yes, along with banking, grocery shopping and automated telephone systems, 
> things are getting more impersonal. There are still issues that need to be 
> addressed, regardless of the system being used.

There is no secrecy between me and my bank.
The know how much is in my account and I have paper copies of every 
transaction. (Paper audit trail).

Same for my shopping list and my telephone call. In order to pay the 
bill, they need to know what I consume...

It is not the same for election where secrecy is the internationnal rule.

>>So think twice, when I go voting (physicaly) my ID is checked, my face
>>is compare to the picture on my id card.
> There are a variety of software and hardware solutions that can aid in this 
> area.

Give me biometrics and ADN test to make sure my vote is anonymous and my 
twin will have no right to vote after me. (all of that remotely)

There are well known, well tested procedure and technique available 
since ever to do that. Paper, Pen, Printed ballot, ID card, printed 
elector list, witness, ...

> Not in my system. Python (and C) is the language, Linux is the operating 
> system, Qt is the GUI toolkit, MySQL is the database backend. All are 
> available in GPL or looser licenses, and could be built against reference 
> sources. Short of consumer PC hardware used, the entire system would be 
> completely transparent.

How do I check that the binary code running is the compilation of those 
reference source code? (without interupting the system).
How do you make a security/logic analyse of so many lines of code?
How does a normal citizen trust the system??? trust an expert?

>>>Relying on voters to audit their votes is unacceptable,
>>Who else can audit their vote???
>>Expert? Whitness? Big Brother?
> The machine would keep an electronic tally as well.

Now you get 2 differents result... the paper result and the electronic 
result... what do you do? Cancel election? Use the paper everywhere? Use 
electronic everywhere?

Also if what is on paper and what is on the screen (or where I did 
click) is not the same... what do you do?

>>>That might just mean pen and paper for a long time.
> Unfortunately, we don't use paper now. We use lever machines with a mechanical 
> counter. The county is looking at DRE machines for 2005, and we really can't 
> turn back. We have to only hope for as open a DRE system as possible. One 

Your only hope is to print a paper audit trail and to count those paper.
The push for DRE was made to avoid recount like in Florida...
Where the use of DRE make it even more important to have recount 
(including full recount at random place)...

> last though, a computer interface would be able to assist voters in casting 
> STVs, like Approval, IRV, or Condorcet. People don't properly read paper 
> ballots. You should see how many mistakes happen on voter registration cards! 
> I'd be very interested in any studies looking at the usability issues of 
> purality-majority vs. STV or other types of paper ballots. For advanced 
> voting methods I'm not sure paper would succeed well.

If it is not applicable on paper... then do not call them "advenced 
voting methods". You are going backward I am affraid.


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