[EM] The structuring of power and the composition of norms by communicative assent

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Fri Jan 23 16:03:57 PST 2009

On Fri, 23 Jan 2009 10:22:13 -0500 Michael Allan wrote:
 > Juho Laatu wrote:
 >>Yes, it is good to facilitate mutual
 >>discussion better. My aim with this
 >>discussion is to study if one can
 >>combine that with the good old
 >>privacy / secret vote principles.
 > The most significant combo (I think) is that of the existing general
 > electoral systems of the state (private/secret ballot), and the new
 > primary system of the public sphere (public/open ballot).  There's a
 > synergy between them - both together are better than either would be
 > alone.  Likewise for state legislative voting (closed, inaccessible)
 > and public voting on norms (open, accessible) - synergy there too.  So
 > we rationalize society's voting systems.
 >>>But can private voting fit in the public sphere?  There are at
 >>>least two practical problems: i) Given the protections of free
 >>>speech, there is no way to generally enforce a secret ballot....
 >>I see three alternative approaches
 >>(for each individual voter) here.
 >>1) The vote is forced secret. The
 >>voter can tell how she voted
 >>(=freedom of speech). But she can
 >>not prove to the coercer or buyer
 >>how she voted.
 >>2) The voter can choose if her vote
 >>is public or secret. She can also
 >>tell what her secret vote was.
 >>3) The vote is public.
 >>What I mean is that also enforced
 >>secrecy and free speech can be
 > Not in the public sphere - neither (1) nor (3) is enforceable - only
 > (2) is allowed.  It is the nature of the public sphere, and part of
 > the legitimacy it confers on the process.  More on that later...
I get dizzy on public vs private as used here, but have to disagree on some
of the above.

True secret voting - important to protect a voter's vote from being known:
       A society can use a ballot box with black and white balls, especially
for deciding whether to accept a new member.  There is NO record to protect
     or lose as to who voted black.
       Lever voting machines can be used in public elections.  At least
originally these were as secret, though all kinds of cheating now becomes
       Paper absentee ballots can be handled in a way that, if done
properly, maintains secrecy.  The envelope has the voter's name.  The
ballot is forbidden to identify the voter in any way, and is void
otherwise.  When the envelope is opened the ballot is placed in a stack of
such without looking at content.

Signing petitions is generally non-secret - with this known to the signers.

Speech is only occasionally kept secret - courts and legislatures and
societies choose when they need this.
Proxies?  There is need for a verifiable record as to how many votes a
proxy can cast.
   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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