[kwlug-disc] Lower voter turnout?

Adam Glauser adamglauser at gmail.com
Fri Apr 8 11:47:39 EDT 2011

On 4/8/2011 12:27 AM, Raul Suarez wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 05, 2011 at 07:21:39AM -0400, Russell McOrmond wrote:
>>    What do KWLug folks think about online voting?  It was included in
>> the Liberal platform as a "solution" to low voter turnout.
> Voting is secret. Of course you identify that you are you, but there is no way
> to relate that to your actual vote. On an online system it is impossible not to
> know how you voted. We can choose to ignore this data, but the fact that the
> data exists defeats the secret vote.
> Unless we agree that vote shouldn't be secret, online voting will be unworkable

You actually could have a secret ballot in online voting. It is more 
difficult to have a system which is both secret and auditable.

The solutions I've seen all have less secrecy than the current paper 
ballot system, though some have more direct auditability. In some cases, 
it is possible for to ensure that one's specific ballot was counted 
correctly. To my mind, this actually provides a benefit over the current 
system in certain ways. However, their is a secrecy compromise if 
auditability is required, which I think I can safely say it is.

The usual solution involves two or more parties which must collude to 
have enough information to see how a particular voter voted. I wrote a 
paper about some of the available algorithms and protocols for online 
voting. Its a few years old now, but if someone is interested in the 
details of some of the proposed systems I could probably dig it up for 
them. Personally, I think I could live with such a setup assuming that I 
was first convinced that online voting provides a significant benefit, 
and secondly that the development process and resulting system (hardware 
and software) were open to a transparent audit process.

All that being said, I don't believe that an online voting system is 
either desirable or feasible in practice. One concern that I haven't 
seen suitably addressed is the possibility of the voter's computer 
system being compromised.

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