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Vote reform

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Aug. 24th, 2006 | 11:32 pm

Two recent blog entries got me thinking about some voting reform. The first was by joedecker California Reps complete selection of winners of the next US House election (thanks to the joy of gerrymandering they control who'll win) the second was a video on alternet about shocking election theft testimony (that republican representative who asked for a program that could change the election results, that was just theory wasn't it?

So I started thinking about how to patch these election flaws.

The redistricting is hard. There's a project that is trying to figure out cultural regions by voting. (for instance a large swath of southern california considers itself to be part of Los Angeles). It might be possible to use something like that to group people into common "neighborhoods" and aggregate those for elected official districts. (the really simple things like grids or "at-large" are problematic).

As for election machine software fraud, that was a lot easier to come up with ideas for. Just baning "electronic voting machines" isn't truly enough as questionable entities also make the vote counting machines.

Currently I'm thinking the most tamper resistant system would have the following features

  • not be reprogrammable (burn the program into ROM)
  • all source and all binaries (used to build the source and running the vote machine must be publicly available (and verified)
  • ideally the system would be fairly small and it would be possible to read all the software used to build the system. (stop whining and just write it assembly, how hard is it to read a name and add a number)
  • burning the roms must be publicly observed.
  • since hacks can be installed into the hardware, all schematics must be available and use only common commerical components, and a sufficiently random selection of vote machines should examined under (at least) electron microscopes for rogue components
  • all machines that process votes, once verified should remain in locked glass rooms with the opportunity for both video and local observation
  • the transfer of votes from the voting stations to the tallying sites must also be under constant observation
  • you might also want to have multiple organizations conduct exit polling as a secondary statistical test


I'm wondering if I should try to talk my local green party county council to start inviting people to form some committees to work out those ideas and write them up as initiatives.

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Comments {6}

adrienne

(no subject)

from: sapience
date: Aug. 25th, 2006 09:58 am (UTC)
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You absolutely should!

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Dilinger

I'll Second it.

from: dilinger
date: Aug. 25th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure it will go anywhere but it it much better then putting your head in the sand. It also lets me live vicariously through you. :)

My solution isn't exactly legal, but involves about 1000 individuals who basicly destroy all the voting machines 3 days before the election. It's the only way to be sure.

If they are so hackable, why don't dems get on board and hack away. Fight fire with fire that way we all get burned!

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Diane Trout

Re: I'll Second it.

from: alienghic
date: Aug. 25th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
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heh... like have the voting machines return counts vastly larger than the total number of people in the district?

e.g. each vote is counted as 10 or 100 votes, the percentages will still be correct, but it'd be blindingly obvious that something is broken when there are more votes than people.

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Vince

(no subject)

from: democritus
date: Aug. 25th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
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"(stop whining and just write it assembly, how hard is it to read a name and add a number)"

But what about adding encryption? ;)

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Aug. 25th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
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It's supposed to be public, right? so we don't want encryption. Though digitial signatures might be useful...

Ok so maybe its more than increment a counter.

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Dilinger

School

from: dilinger
date: Aug. 28th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC)
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I remember how bad the optical scanners where at school, but I suppose I'm partial to the paper ballet.
One person one ballot. The ballot is suppose to be secret, so you can't be compelled to vote a specific way and cant' proove to your boss you votes a specific way for "compensation"

At school you could take your score sheet in and say I think this was scored wrong, see and score changed. It doesn't work so easily in a voting session at this scale.

If only I had a brain.

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