[EM] A quick, dirty, and somewhat obvious method for a secret proxy ballot

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Nov 16 20:21:48 PST 2005

At 03:57 PM 11/16/2005, Paul Kislanko wrote:
>It may be we're making this too complicated, but as a somewhat educated
>layman with respect to EMs and a very interested voter, I notice these
>important points.
>1) MY vote as an individual voter MUST be by secret ballot.
>I have very recent experience with just the knowledge of which primary I
>voted in being used to strike me from the voting rolls for the general
>election. There's "coercion" and many more forms of dis-enfranchisement. If
>I were to vote for a proxy, I'd want which proxy I voted for kept secret.

I think that in any delegable proxy election in government, that 
option should exist. I'm not working personally on governmental 
methods, because, in spite of their importance, I consider them 
secondary. However, it would be quite simple to have a base layer 
proxy assignment which is secret ballot. Citizens then can choose to 
vote secretly or openly. If enough desire it, then *all* would vote 
secretly; this means that any proxy would have also voted, so the 
proxy would only exercise votes received in the election, not the 
proxy's own vote (though the proxy could have voted for himself or 
herself, and thus *would* be voting for himself or herself).

>2) But the votes BY the proxy MUST be be "public" - at least to the ones who
>delegated their vote to them.

Yes. And because the identity of the latter is secret, as Paul would 
have it, it must simply be public. While there might be a way to 
encrypt voting data, I think that the secrecy is far too hazardous. 
It's really the same issue as with present representatives: should 
votes in the legislature be secret? I don't think any of us would think so....

>The reason? If I delegate X as a proxy, it is because I voted for "X's
>proposed ballot configuration".

Well, I'd suggest you should vote for X if you trust X, and, I'd 
suggest, under delegable proxy, it would be quite practical for you 
to restrict your voting to people whom you personally know and with 
whom you can reliably communicate....

>  If X's actual ballot is not available for my
>review, then if my alternative loses the election I have no way of knowing
>if it was because a majority didn't like it, or my proxy was lying when she
>said she would vote my preference.

There are lots of reasons why proxy actions should be public.... The 
real power of proxy democracy will be in deliberation; a proxy is an 
attorney-in-fact, and the actions of an attorney-in-fact might 
possibly be secret from anyone but the client, but if the client is 
secret even to the attorney-in-fact, the only way for the client to 
know how the attorney is functioning is for that functioning to be public.

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