Computerized (DRE) Elections Are Not Trustworthy, p. 2A
II. GENERAL DISCUSSION -- HOW COMPUTERIZED ELECTIONS CAN FAIL.
A) BASIC ELECTION REQUIREMENTS -- ANONYMITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND VISIBILITY
In the past, there have been failures in public elections. This includes bought votes, "hanging chads", tampering with mechanical voting machines, stuffed ballot boxes, and discarded ballots. Public trust in an election hinges on the open viewing of the election process and the confidence that any substantial failure in the voting process will be become public.
There are three basic balloting requirements for any significant election --
1) a secret ballot (Anonymity),
2) an accurate counting of those ballots (Accountability), and
3) transparency of the process (Visibility).
Observe, first, that "Anonymity" and "Accountability" are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. Any action which ensures or promotes one of them will prevent or interfere with the other. If a process ensures Anonymity of the ballot (i.e., "the secret ballot"), then the counting process (Accountability) is less trustworthy (easier to cheat upon, without getting caught). If a process increases Accountability (tracking information), then it destroys Anonymity (the secret ballot).
Because of this conflict, the voting process must not only be Visible to the voting public, but also the interaction, or interface, between Accountability and Anonymity must be clear, as well. Any lack of this
Visibility in the election process will call into question both the Accountability and the Anonymity of votes. Public confidence in an election, both the process and the results, is tied to directly observing,
during the election, precisely how Accountability and Anonymity requirements are implemented, and how they interact.
There must be confidence that if there is a failure -- either by accident or by intent -- then the failure will at least be detected. Election officals may be subject to criticism and possible legal action if open, observable, and well-defined election processes are not carried out.
Last modified April 09, 2007 05:27 PM