[EM] Does Range need an abstention/participation tally?

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Wed Feb 22 16:27:28 PST 2012

2012/2/22 Kathy Dopp <kathy.dopp at gmail.com>

> Jameson,
> If you want to make a modest pretense of caring about the
> integrity/verifiability of the vote tallies, you need to retain and
> report the number of ballots cast and vote tallies for each type and
> location of ballot cast.  I.e. for precincts or ballot definition
> types.  Not that any on-line voting system could be verified as
> accurate, but if you simply report the aggregated results, then any
> suspicious-looking patterns in the data will be entirely hidden.
> Kathy

Actually, the cryptography of Helios is pretty good at that stuff already.
Each vote is recorded in encrypted format, with either a voter ID or a
voter alias, as well as precinct info. Each voter has a receipt for their
vote and can use an easy-to-use program, running in their own web browser
on a  trusted machine, to mathematically verify that their vote was
included in the total, and that all the votes in the total were reported.
It is insecure against trojans on the voters machine at the time of the
initial vote, unless the voter takes some rather extreme precautions; and
it depends for security on some fraction of voters being awake enough to
perform the checks and make noise if something doesn't check out; but it
takes no special expertise to do so, it's just a matter of pressing some
buttons and checking the result independently. And as long as some small
fraction of the voters do that, it's really pretty solid security; not
something I'd trust for public elections, but certainly far, far more
security than many systems actually in use (which I don't trust), including
some fully-manual processes.

So anyway, the question really is not "should it keep a tally of how many
people vote", but "should it keep a tally of how many people specifically
rated each individual candidate, as opposed to leaving that candidate
unmarked/defaulted to 0."


> > Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 16:15:01 -0600
> > From: Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>
> >
> > I'm working on sketching out data structures so that Helios
> > Voting<https://vote.heliosvoting.org/>,
> > an online, open-source, cryptographically-verifiable voting system, can
> use
> > advanced voting procedures such as Range, Majority Judgment, and SODA.
> > (Condorcet is a significantly harder problem but probably doable, and IRV
> > is essentially impossible).
> >
> > My question is: for the Range voting structures, is it acceptable to just
> > keep one tally (total score) for each candidate, or do you also need a
> > tally of number of voters who rated/didn't rate a candidate? The latter
> > would be used for average-based schemes; so this question is equivalent
> to
> > asking, are such schemes important enough to be worth making the data
> > structures more complex? Since I'm the one signing up for the programming
> > work here, I'd appreciate it if answers that ask me to do more work have
> a
> > reasoning and a strength (ie, "I'd kinda prefer it" versus "I think it is
> > absolutely necessary").
> >
> > Jameson--
> Kathy Dopp
> http://electionmathematics.org
> Town of Colonie, NY 12304
> "One of the best ways to keep any conversation civil is to support the
> discussion with true facts."
> "Renewable energy is homeland security."
> Fundamentals of Verifiable Elections
> http://kathydopp.com/wordpress/?p=174
> View some of my research on my SSRN Author page:
> http://ssrn.com/author=1451051
> ----
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