[EM] voting machines

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sat Aug 28 20:10:23 PDT 2004

On Sat, 28 Aug 2004 21:00:19 -0400 James Green-Armytage wrote:

> Dave K. brought up voting machines...
> I think that if we are using computerized voting, then the source code
> should be transparent, i.e. verifiable public knowledge. Can we all agree
> on this?

Agreed BUT:

If someone writes usable code, AND makes it public, what stops someone 
else copying the code without paying those who did the work?

Note that, given usable code, it can be useful to copy the design, without 
copying the actual code.

Those doing this say they must use secrecy to protect their investment.

NOT ACCEPTABLE, for it helps hide errors, and deliberate evil such as Bev 
Harris claims to have found.

THEREFORE WE MUST find a way to combine required visibility with 
protection of legitimate investments.

> If the source code is public knowledge, and it can be verified that the
> individual machines are operating on the basis of the source code, then
> perhaps a lack of paper records wouldn't be such a big deal. 

I turn that upside down.  Give me code secrecy and, even if you demand 
pretty printouts I:
      Probably can find a way to manage invalid counts.
      Certainly can violate vote secrecy rules.
      Even if I do the secrecy right, the voters should properly worry 
that they CANNOT KNOW I am not cheating on secrecy.

Remember that voters deprived of certainty about secrecy are deprived of 
daring to vote in a manner they suspect someone of objecting to.

I remain convinced the printouts are not worth their expense, but the 
validated source code is essential.

> On the other hand, I see no reason why to not have paper records. I'm sure
> that you could print the info from each vote in a very small, tidy code,
> so that you could fit hundreds of votes on a standard 8x11 page... hence
> paper waste or ink waste wouldn't be too significant.

Those who talk of trails, think of something each voter can read.

You did not mention the time the machine sits there waiting for the voter 
to get done reading.

BTW, a true voting machine will display what it promises to record, for 
voter review and correction.

> Are the source codes for all of our voting machines this November public
> knowledge? If not, I think this is more serious than the paper issue. If
> they want to maintain a copyright on it, that's fine, but you can still do
> that while letting the public know what it is. Books, for example, contain
> copyrighted material, but nevertheless that material is obviously
> available to anyone who purchases the book. Likewise, the voting machine
> code should be available to all voters.

OF COURSE it is secret, as I discussed above.

> Sincerely,
> James

  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.

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list