[EM] Electronic Voting Bill of Rights?

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Tue Nov 18 11:39:01 PST 2003

On Tue, 18 Nov 2003 09:46:11 +0100 David GLAUDE wrote:

> Dave Ketchum wrote:
>> We are getting in pretty deep here.  I will repeat what I have said a 
>> few times:
>>      Vendor (whoever has this responsibility) writes program (whatever 
>> is standard and in common for all precincts using this program).
> Maybe the whole issue with BlackBox Voting is that we privatize 
> democracy. We leave it to Vendor to control the process. Democracy is 
> for sale.
> I strongly believe that some things need to be done inhouse by the 
> administration.

Trouble is:
      Vendors can be found willing to do ANYTHING that will get them money.
      There are members of the administration willing to do ANYTHING to 
continue the current control of the administration.  Whether the election 
that got them there was cleanly Democratic or was tainted, they would 
settle for more taint if that would improve the odds of making future 
elections come out "right".
      If the administration is allowed to go off in a corner with selected 
vendors to plot pleasant futures for themselves, WITHOUT telling the 
citizens what they are doing, Democracy is dead.  This is the future many 
of us are fighting against.

> Once you aquire some vendor hardware, you are stuck with them for the 
> software for a very long time. And if you are unlucky enough to have 
> choosen Diebold, then you are in trouble now... until another vendor get 
> strike.

No one wants to admit guilt for the sins Blackbox Voting claims in 
relation to Diebold but, whatever that may be, that does not justify any 
other administrations jumping in.

Also, unless there is some unfixable defect in Diebold hardware, the 
software should be fixable by Diebold or others.

> I think the source code should be own by the state (and open source or 
> free software to garantee transparency). I think the hardware/API 
> specification should be state writen.

"State" is a tricky word when multiple US states and federal government 
get involved.  I am inclined toward the state doing basic specifications, 
the vendor doing details, and the state AND ITS CITIZENS having the right 
to do detailed review and demand AND GET needed fixes.  This requires open 
source (just giving me something for free does not guarantee I will be 

> But of course this is only if you want e-voting... wich I don't. ;-)

Let's step back and look a bit at voting methods:

PLURALITY:  Doable with hand counting.  California could have elected a 
governor liked by VERY FEW this year - seems to have been lucky.

PLURALITY plus RERUNS - still doable with hand counting.  I read about 
France and UNhappiness this year:  Chirac wanted another term, but few 
voters agreed.  A minority liked Le Pen, but a majority DID NOT.  There 
were many moderate candidates acceptable to a majority, but none of these 
were first choice of many.  Thus the rerun featured Chirac and Le Pen.

RANKED VOTING - IRV - with ranked voting I would expect more candidates 
and that hand counting would become a real challenge, especially for such 
as state governor.  Even counting for e-voting gets to be work.  Can 
manage unhappiness here sometimes:
    40 A - do not fix budget catastrophe now.
    31 B>C fix budget with less spending>fix budget via spending and taxes.

   29 D>C fix budget with more taxes>fix budget via spending and taxes.

Here IRV will reject the 29 and A gets elected with only 40% approval.

RANKED VOTING - CONDORCET - same voting as above, but different counting. 
  Hand counting may be more of a challenge.  Counting for e-voting becomes 
easier because each precinct constructs a matrix to forward so that the 
results for all precincts can be added together to determine winner.  Here 
B and D get rejected as weak and C gets elected with 60% approval.

PR - I will only note that e-voting makes many methods workable that would 
be impractical with hand counting.

Other - Many of these are also impractical for hand counting AND I tend 
to prefer Condorcet over them for other reasons.

> David GLAUDE

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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