Wisconsin Bill Says Paper Trails And Source Code Needed For E-Voting
from the a-big-step-forward dept
It looks like folks in Wisconsin have been paying attention to the problems found in many e-voting systems. The Governor there has signed into law a requirement that all e-voting machines include a verifiable paper trail that would let a voter check his or her vote before leaving the booth — and which can be used for an official recount, if necessary. Perhaps more interesting, though almost entirely ignored by most press accounts of this new law, is a separate claim that this law not only requires e-voting providers to hand over their source code (similar to other states), but that the companies need to make that source code “publicly accessible” so that it “may be used to independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the operating and tallying procedures to be employed at any election.” This is a big step forward that, hopefully, other states will emulate.
Comments on “Wisconsin Bill Says Paper Trails And Source Code Needed For E-Voting”
No Subject Given
I think a better solution is to change the voting system to a truly accountable system. I propose a system where when you vote, your vote is stored in one central location where you can check remotely (online, etc) and verify your vote against your voter registration number (or ssn if need be). The system would allow one vote per registered voter, boxes can’t have preloaded votes (as one can vote from their own computer at home), would remove the need for exit polls, and make people more likely to vote (due to convienience). There are holes, naturally, but don’t say stuff like a worm on people’s machine that intercepts and changes the votes. If someone were to actually fall victim to something like that, I imagine those numbers would be far less than the outright fraud that currently exists. It’s a WIP, but I think putting sheets of paper in a box then counting them all is kind of… 18th century.
Re: No Subject Given
This sounds like a single point failure scenario? Not for my vote thanks. If you centralize, rather than fractalize, votes, you leave them open to nullification in a crash/ malfunction/ etc.
Plus voting from home is a bad idea, just think of the many bad choices you made while drinking, now imagine those choices controlling your country. If people didn’t have to leave their homes, voting would increase, but how many of those votes would be correct due to intoxication?
I think that the paper ballot and e-voting should be melded, which is what they’re basically doing here, so I’m all for this.
Re: No Subject Given
“I think a better solution is to change the voting system to a truly accountable system.”
Not possible. The very definition of voting means it must be done anonymously, via secret ballot. You cannot have accountability without sacrificing voter anonymity, which would make the act of voting pointless.
“I propose a system where when you vote, your vote is stored in one central location where you can check remotely (online, etc) and verify your vote against your voter registration number (or ssn if need be).”
Can your system guarantee election by secret ballot? If not then it gets pitched, along with the myriad thousands of other ‘internet’ ideas that also forgot this fundamental concept.
“I think putting sheets of paper in a box then counting them all is kind of… 18th century.”
Perhaps. Yet there were many wise scholars and statesmen during those times, enough to figure out a voting system to keep our democracy alive for over two hundred years. Quite an achievement I’d say, paper and all.
Re: No Subject Given
I propose a system where when you vote, your vote is stored in one central location where you can check remotely (online, etc) and verify your vote against your voter registration number (or ssn if need be).
The problem with this system, as others noted, is that it gives up your anonymity. Someone else who knows your SSN or voter registration number could see how you voted.
I have, however, heard of another method proposed by some that would print out a random number for the voter to have so that he or she could later look up in a table of results to make sure the vote was counted properly. This way, there’s no real association between the voter and the vote. However, the fear here is that this same system can be used for vote selling, as any indication of how you voted that can be taken out of the voting booth can be effectively “sold” by proving to someone how you voted.
How refreshing to see a state bringing some sensibility to important civic issues.
Unlike some other states, who can’t even seem to fit their pants on straight.
No Subject Given
I think that this is a smart step in the right direction and I only hope that more states follow suit.
Sadly, I am sure that my state (Ohio) will be last as we currently harbor Diebold’s HQ.
I hope that this does not go the same as other states that have tried to implement a system like this. That is, giving it up and going back to a closed source/black box voting system at the request of pollititions and corporate lobbyists.
As far as annonymous voting goes though, I would much rather have proof that my vote was counted for the candidates that I voted for than annonimity. I think that an SSN number connecting you to your vote is a terrible. SSNs are far to important to use to connect a person to data where another random number would do just as well.
Unfortunately, the bill that passed doesn't mandat
See The Wisconsin Technology Network for an update. An earlier version of the bill did require that voting software be available to the public. But the version that passed requires that the code be put in escrow, and be made available only with a non-disclosure agreement in limited circumstances.