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Old 18th September 2018, 05:51 AM   #81
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Even the current Danish right wing government have abandoned the plans for a electronic election system. Apparently it was the threat of foreign hacking that got through to them.


We have an excellent paper system with enough pooling sites that you can stand in line for minutes at rush times. Counting is done in a few hours.


Of course counting would take longer in a big country like the US.
We all know that if one man can dig one hole in one day, it would take ten men ten days to dig ten holes.
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Old 18th September 2018, 06:00 AM   #82
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I would go as far as to say that anyone supporting a voting system with no paper trail expects there to be hacking in his/her favor.
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Old 18th September 2018, 07:01 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I would go as far as to say that anyone supporting a voting system with no paper trail expects there to be hacking in his/her favor.
Or trying to sell an electronic voting system.
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Old 18th September 2018, 07:34 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Or trying to sell an electronic voting system.
... which needs to be costly upgraded after each hacking attempt.
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Old 18th September 2018, 05:35 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
... which needs to be costly upgraded after each hacking attempt.
and a just as useful and expensive virus protection suite.
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Old 19th September 2018, 07:29 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
You could even design a machine with digital counters that would provide a visible vote-by-vote update, and cameras continuously watching and recording the counters.
If there is any way to record who votes in which order (even just a poll worker sneakily taking notes) than this would make ballots no longer secret. All one would have to do is compare the order in which people have voted with the order in which numbers increase to determine who voted what. It is absolutely vital that ballots are only counted after the election is over; something electronic voting machines can't do.

Quote:
The Florida recount is just one example of problems associated with hand-counting paper ballots.
All it shows it the problems associated with hand-counting paper punch cards.

Quote:
And nobody has even claimed, let alone proven, any fraud associated with vote-by-mail systems in the two states that conduct elections exclusively by mail.
I don't think you can prove that no one ever voted in someone else's name either. If you allow voting by post, there is always the possibility that one person filled in ballots for more than one person in the same household.
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Old 19th September 2018, 07:31 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
I always thought this was a great idea:

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_bism...aud/transcript


Excerpt from the transcript: "So this is how you vote. You get one of these ballot forms at random, and then you go into the voting booth, and you mark your choices, and you tear along a perforation. And you shred the candidate list. And the bit that remains, the one with your marks -- this is your encrypted vote. So you let a poll station worker scan your encrypted vote. And because it's encrypted, it can be submitted, stored and counted centrally and displayed on a website for anyone to see, including you. So you take this encrypted vote home as your receipt. And after the close of the election, you can check that your vote was counted by comparing your receipt to the vote on the website. And remember, the vote is encrypted from the moment you leave the voting booth, so if an election official wants to find out how you voted, they will not be able to. If the government wants to find out how you voted, they won't be able to. No hacker can break in and find out how you voted. No hacker can break in and change your vote, because then it won't match your receipt. Votes can't go missing because then you won't find yours when you look for it.

But the election magic doesn't stop there. Instead, we want to make the whole process so transparent that news media and international observers and anyone who wants to can download all the election data and do the count themselves. They can check that all the votes were counted correctly. They can check that the announced result of the election is the correct one. And these are elections by the people, for the people. So the next step for our democracies are transparent and verifiable elections."


What you seem to be describing is encrypting other meta-data related to the vote, but the way things work now there no meta-data is retained so there is nothing to encrypt. The benefits you describe donít really have anything to do with electronic voting, they come from retaining meta-data about the vote. Specifically, they come from retaining information about who cast that particular vote. This can be done in paper based systems as well, itís not specific to electronic voting systems. There are of course reasons why this information is either non-existent or held as tightly as possible.

Letís assume you now collect meta-data on who voted and who they voted for, what now? You are proposing using the data be encrypted, but it doesnít really address the issues and is not specific to electronic voting. The database of which vote belonged to who would certainly be encrypted in a paper voting system for example. The twist you are adding is to make this database publicly available and to apply security at the level of the individual vote to control who can see the information associated with that specific vote.

Controlling this access is a problem that encryptions could and likely should be applied to, but you seem to be falling into the trap of just saying ďencrypt it, problem solvedĒ which is wrong. The real problems are:
1) Deciding who should get access to view the data
2) controlling the access so only those people can view
3) deciding who (if anyone) can alter data
4) Making sure you are looking at an unaltered version of the database
5) keeping the keys used to access the data secure
6) auditing who has looked at the data.
7) More issues than anyone could dream up ahead of time, because thatís how things go with computer security

At best encryption only provides a partial answer to #2. With the proposed public database #5, #6 and #7 are probably impossible to fully solve, the best you could hope for is to make it more difficult.

I suggest you take a step back and think about what you are trying to encrypt, why you want to encrypt it and who can un-encrypt it. Remember, the vote itself is public information, encrypting it makes no sense because to do anything with it, even count it, you need to un-encrypt it. If everyone can un-encrypt it, why bother encrypting it in the first place?
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Old 19th September 2018, 07:45 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post

Electronic voting looks to be just technology for technology's sake
This. When designing anything you need to start with properly describing what you are trying to accomplish. Eg what problem do you want to solve and what process/processes you are trying to support, etc. The most common mistake made designing anything is to start with the "cool" new technology you want to use and they try to justify it's use.


Nearly everything being proposed isn't really electronic voting it's voter tracking. Start by describing what you want to track, why you want to track it, how you are going to use the information you collect, who should have access to the information you collect, etc. Then move on to figuring out the best way to do it.
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Old 19th September 2018, 09:24 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
7) More issues than anyone could dream up ahead of time, because thatís how things go with computer security
This, right here, is the primary issue that people forget simply can't be "engineered away" with "proper design".

I double-reiterate:
Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
There is a line from Harry Potter that I always thought summed up computer security perfectly:
Quote:
The Prime Minister gazed hopelessly at the pair of them for a moment, then the words he had fought to suppress all evening burst from him at last.
ďBut for heavenís sake ó youíre wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out ó well ó anything!Ē
Scrimgeour turned slowly on the spot and exchanged an incredulous look with Fudge, who really did manage a smile this time as he said kindly, ďThe trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister.Ē
From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 - "The Other Minister"

No matter what solutions anyone comes up with, it is only ever a matter of time before it can be compromised. Security is a technological and psychological arms race with, really, no end. Any move over to online voting would immediately become a giant international target. The question is, as I asked above, how much of an increase in voter fraud would be acceptable for the convenience? Because there is no question that voter fraud would constantly be on the rise.

Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
I suggest you take a step back and think about what you are trying to encrypt, why you want to encrypt it and who can un-encrypt it. Remember, the vote itself is public information, encrypting it makes no sense because to do anything with it, even count it, you need to un-encrypt it. If everyone can un-encrypt it, why bother encrypting it in the first place?
FWIW, I think you missed the flow being presented here.

The voter's ballot would be marked with a hash that would related to an encrypted key on the voter's ballot receipt. (I don't remember the exact relationship between the mark on the ballot and the encrypted key on the receipt.) Regardless, the people in possession of the ballot (the government) would not be able to trace the ballot to the voter, but a person, with the encrypted key, would be able to track a specific vote.

Even taking the integrity of that mechanism for granted, I was able to come up with something like a half-dozen ways to take advantage of that kind of system without even really trying too hard.
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Old 19th September 2018, 09:54 AM   #90
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@lomiller

Quote:
Nearly everything being proposed isn't really electronic voting it's voter tracking. Start by describing what you want to track, why you want to track it, how you are going to use the information you collect, who should have access to the information you collect, etc. Then move on to figuring out the best way to do it.
Indeed

And that is one advantage of a manual, paper system.

There is the ability to track votes if necessary, but only if there is physical access to the ballot papers and the paper records.

This is not the case for electronic records.

You need to be able to track votes in case of suspected fraud but you also need anonymity otherwise and even in that case as much as possible.
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Old 19th September 2018, 10:56 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post



FWIW, I think you missed the flow being presented here.

The voter's ballot would be marked with a hash that would related to an encrypted key on the voter's ballot receipt. (I don't remember the exact relationship between the mark on the ballot and the encrypted key on the receipt.) Regardless, the people in possession of the ballot (the government) would not be able to trace the ballot to the voter, but a person, with the encrypted key, would be able to track a specific vote.

Even taking the integrity of that mechanism for granted, I was able to come up with something like a half-dozen ways to take advantage of that kind of system without even really trying too hard.
Do you even need encryption for this? Just put a random unique ID on every ballot, the person knows which ID they had the government doesnít.


Anyway, my point was a little different. I'm suggesting people start by thinking about the problem first. This means thinking about things like who can view what, who can't, what are the auditing requirements, etc, etc need to be answered before you begin thinking about how to make it all happen.
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Old 19th September 2018, 11:03 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
@lomiller


Indeed

And that is one advantage of a manual, paper system.

There is the ability to track votes if necessary, but only if there is physical access to the ballot papers and the paper records.

This is not the case for electronic records.

You need to be able to track votes in case of suspected fraud but you also need anonymity otherwise and even in that case as much as possible.
Since it requires physical access you can also audit who has looked and make sure they are who they say they are and that they really do have cause to look. What was being proposed sounds like a public database that anyone can copy and view however/whenever they like so long as they have they keys. This could work so long as the keys are not copied, stolen, altered, etc, but thatís preventing this is likely a near impossible challenge in itís own right.
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Old 19th September 2018, 11:21 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Do you even need encryption for this? Just put a random unique ID on every ballot, the person knows which ID they had the government doesn’t.
Yeah, an encrypted key is at least one line of check against the creation of forged IDs for ballot stuffing (or the implication that votes are missing because the IDs are not present in the vote record). Not that it's fool proof. We had this discussion upthread as well as a way around it.


Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Anyway, my point was a little different. I'm suggesting people start by thinking about the problem first. This means thinking about things like who can view what, who can't, what are the auditing requirements, etc, etc need to be answered before you begin thinking about how to make it all happen.
I agree. I think the method suggested does think this through a bit and does answer at least some of those questions. What it does not do is account for what happens to the receipts after the voter leaves the polling place, largely working under the assumption that voters won't do stupid things.
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Old 19th September 2018, 12:23 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
.....What it does not do is account for what happens to the receipts after the voter leaves the polling place, largely working under the assumption that voters won't do stupid things.

My first thought is that some employers would want a copy/picture from employees/included with job applications. (For totally beneficial purposes of course.)


It would also be an essential first step in a well organised vote buying scheme.
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Old 19th September 2018, 01:12 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Toke View Post
My first thought is that some employers would want a copy/picture from employees/included with job applications. (For totally beneficial purposes of course.)


It would also be an essential first step in a well organised vote buying scheme.
Indeed.
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Old 20th September 2018, 09:13 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Earthborn View Post
All it shows it the problems associated with hand-counting paper punch cards.
Yes. Punchcards were invented for the 1890 census. At the time, they were revolutionary technology, but by 2000, as obsolete as buggy whips.
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Old 20th September 2018, 12:57 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Have paper ballots ever been tampered with? "Lost?" Forged? Miscounted, inadvertently or deliberately?

No system can be perfect. But a "properly designed" electronic system can be at least as reliable and secure as paper ballots, just as electronic banking is generally preferable to carrying buckets of cash to every transaction.

The important part is not that either electronics or paper are tamper-proof, but adding that redundancy ensures that each acts as a check on the other, making it easier to point out where tampering is occurring. If the electronic and paper tallies do not match, there's clearly something wrong that needs to be investigated. When you have two redundant systems with different people handling each, the chances of tampering going undetected go way down.
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Old 20th September 2018, 01:40 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
The important part is not that either electronics or paper are tamper-proof, but adding that redundancy ensures that each acts as a check on the other, making it easier to point out where tampering is occurring. If the electronic and paper tallies do not match, there's clearly something wrong that needs to be investigated. When you have two redundant systems with different people handling each, the chances of tampering going undetected go way down.
What does the electronic part add though?

You want a transparent system with anonymity unless an investigation is required.

This can't be guaranteed with an electronic system as copies can be made quickly.
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Old 20th September 2018, 05:47 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
What does the electronic part add though?

As I said, redundancy for error checking. Not sure why that's so hard to understand.
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Old 21st September 2018, 08:57 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
As I said, redundancy for error checking. Not sure why that's so hard to understand.
Okay, the electronic count does not match the hand count. Now what?
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Old 21st September 2018, 09:24 AM   #101
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My guess would be that systems other than "first-past-the-post" would be less vulnerable to tampering.
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Old 21st September 2018, 10:09 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Okay, the electronic count does not match the hand count. Now what?

The same as for any other system where data discrepancies need to be investigated and reconciled.
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Old 21st September 2018, 10:11 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
The same as for any other system where data discrepancies need to be investigated and reconciled.
...coin toss?
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Old 21st September 2018, 10:22 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
The same as for any other system where data discrepancies need to be investigated and reconciled.
Okay, you recount the ballots manually and electronically. The counts are the same. Now what?

Does one have more weight than the other?
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Old 22nd September 2018, 04:33 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Okay, you recount the ballots manually and electronically. The counts are the same. Now what?

Does one have more weight than the other?
Too late to edit. I meant that each count is the same as before and disagree with eac other.
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Old 22nd September 2018, 05:05 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
As I said, redundancy for error checking. Not sure why that's so hard to understand.
I am struggling to think of a scenario where the electronic tally would be more trusted than the paper tally*. I suppose if it is a really tight election and a recount is demanded... but even then I'd be dubious, whilst the paper counting could improve accuracy.


*Assuming similar precautions to the UK system, and where any detected interference would probably trigger a rerun of the election.
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Old 22nd September 2018, 07:28 AM   #107
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I have another redundant error check we could use.

We could just have Russian agents go into a closed room and come out with a set of numbers. If it doesn't match up, we could ask the Russians to give us the numbers again.

That's useful, right?
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