Mailing List Archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [tlug] Somewhat OT- open source software for US voting machines

Curt Sampson wrote:
On 2008-09-30 17:54 +0900 (Tue), Edward Middleton wrote:

To prove this he would have to show that it is not possible to
implement an e-voting systems that is more effective then the current
manual methods.

I'm dubious about arguments along the lines of, "it must be possible unless you can prove that it's not."

My point was that the current system is imperfect so arguments of the sort that e-voting isn't perfect are meaningless. The issue is not whether it is possible to build a perfect e-voting system but whether it possible to produce a better system then what we currently have. All software development faces problems, to prove his argument he needs show that the challenges in building a better e-voting system are insurmountably not just beyond his ability to solve.

And in this particular case, I'm more inclined to accept the conclusions
of the guy who spent three years of his life implementing e-voting

Well if I were going to create a successful e-voting system I would not have approached it in the way this guy did in GNU.FREE[1]. To be honest I can't see any way an internet based voting systems can be anywhere near as effective as a paper ballot. The fact that this wasn't immediately apparent to this guy is something that makes me question his conclusions.

In order to run free and fair elections at a minimum

1. you need to have universal access to voting.

2. you need to be able to insure that voters can cast their ballots freely.

How can you possibly do this as effectively with a web based system?

If I were going to build an e-voting system I would have approached it more like this[2]. I don't think this process was perfect and there are obviously vectors for attack but this is a more realistic starting point to look at the viability of e-voting systems.

The problem is that his arguments are based solely on the premise that
all problems relating to the voting process can/should be solved by
technical means. This is flawed whether you used electronic or manual
voting procedures.

If you consider things such as how you use a ballot and how you count the vote as "technical means," which if you're using that phrase in the context of "manual voting procedures" I would guess you do, I'm not clear on how there would really be any other way of solving problems.

In other words, what are the "non-technical means" that are being
applied to the non-electronic systems that could be, but are not being,
applied to the electronic systems?

Well the non-technical issues I was referring to were organizational issues, the processes and procedures, the legal and political issues.

Hardware and software were generally what I would refer to as the technical side. You could also say that a voting slip was the technical means in the case of manual voting.

If you take the example of "universal access to voting", making voting compulsory (a non-technical means) is an extremely effective way of insuring this.



Home | Main Index | Thread Index

Home Page Mailing List Linux and Japan TLUG Members Links