vote early, check how it was counted often

Continuing on from a post on 1 November about “faith-based” e-voting.

Some interesting ideas from David Bismark at TEDGlobal 2010 about e-voting that tries to simultaneously increases transparency and reduces fraud.

One of the main objections to e-voting is that it’s difficult for each voter to know that her vote was recorded accurately and counted correctly, while she remains anonymous. In the system designed by David Bismark and his colleagues, each voter gets a takeaway slip that serves as a record of the vote, and allows elections to be independently verified. (source: TED website)

Presumably this approach could also be extended to work with STV polls and eliminate the enormous effort to physically transfer as candidates are elected and eliminated.

(h/t to Niall)

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  • SethS

    3 points:

    1. Let’s not buy into the myth that voting is anonymous – it certainly isn’t here in NI at present – if it could be made so this would be an improvement – but I doubt governments will allow that.

    2. I would have thought that the major issue was the inherent insecurity of all electonic systems that at best can be modfied by the manufactures to suit their own agenda and at worst are open to abuse. Given that we only have elections every 4 or 5 years, is getting the results out quickly really more important than getting them right?

    3. THe problem of adapting this to STV is that surplusses are distributed randomly. How could you ensure that any system was not just programmed to favour specifc parties? Of course you could remove the randomness and assess all votes when distributing surplusses, although you do start to run into complications once surplusses from 2nd or 3rd candidates elected are distributed. Not insurmountable but a different kind of STV.

  • > 1. Let’s not buy into the myth that voting is anonymous – it certainly isn’t here in NI at present …

    Be explicit. How is not anonymous? Any public examples of votes cast in a polling stations that were discovered? Or are you just thinking about postal ballot abuse?

  • SethS

    I was thinking explicitly of the fact that ballot papers do not come in loose leaf form but are in fact torn out of a book in which each balot paper has a reference number. You’ll note that when you are presented with your ballot paper the officer will not the reference number next to your name.

    I think this is done in the name of reducing electoral fraud.

    I’m not suggesting that every vote is examined and matched against particular people, more that that it is possible.

    (My father, who was an election agent in the 60s did recall MI5 agents arriving to remove all the ballots cast for the Communist Party.)

  • They note it, and it deters fraud, but once the votes have been verified (ie, checking that the number of valid looking ballots in the ballot box match the number issued) it would be very labour intensive to trace more than a few back since the papers are mixed with the ballots from other boxes before being counted. You’d need the list of numbers for each book of papers and know which had been used for which ballot box. And to match that against the voting register. Not impossible.