Modest Electronic Vote Proposal

You provide strictly computer voting equipment and nothing else, with bar code receipts.

The equipment sends data to The only way to fraud this system if kiosk voting stations are engineered to send the wrong data. But then you take an exit poll of the voters. In the receipt they gave the text displays who the user voted for (so that an attempt at fraud can be detected immediately), and in the bar code there's some cryptographic data that cannot identify the voter, but can identify the vote as it was later counted. The receipt is then hard evidence that cannot be frauded. You don't need to go through the expense of counting all the receipts, you just take a random sample of the receipts, and you should be able to identify 100% match with what was counted on the servers. Any attempt to fraud can be detected and a real recount of the hard-printed evidence be done. That would be real proof, from real hard evidence.

That sounds like a smart idea (seriously). What are you doing with it besides posting here?

Counting votes is easy. Counting secret votes is harder. (However, the Indian electronic system is worthy of note, given its simplicity and robustness.)

But what about the husband that demands to see the wife's recept? She is no longer allowed to lie so she can be coerced.

IANAL, but, one issue with the idea of "receipts" is a legal one. In the event of some sort of manual recount a "receipt" has a different legal status than a "ballot" that was actually handled by the voter. In other words, without actual paper "ballots" a manual recount is potentially not legally valid.

I don't speak legalese very well, but I can imagine a scheme in which we make the ballot really be the receipt and the electronic votes be just a speedy way to count the ballots. Unless problems are detected in the QA phase (poll receipts and see that they match what was counted) and challenges are brought, the hard copy of the ballot will not be counted. Voters can put the receipt in a box at the station, just like they do now. Or they can have two receipts, one to put in a box and one to take home. Under such a scheme I do not expect manual recounts to be necessary at all, they are just a safety mechanism for worst case scenarios.

"...I can imagine a scheme in which we make the ballot really be the receipt..." This is approximately what the Open Voting Consortium advocates:,,

I was thinking just this last week of a voting proposal similar to this, not knowing this proposal was here. In my thinking the voting machine would be the first repository of the voting record, containing the records of votes, and voters (while maintaining the secrecy of their choices). when the voter enters the selections, and registers them by pressing the "Enter Vote", the vote goes immediately into its memory and is independently transmitted to two official vote tabulation sites, an official independent monitoring site, and a publicly available site. The voter receives a two part record of vote, with plainly observable choices marked with X's with which the voter can compare the choices made, with the choices transmitted. If they are agreeable, the voter retains one copy, deposits the other in a locked box, opened only if necessary in a manual recount, and both are separately retained until the next election available for secondary and other necessitated confirmation of electronic counts. Should the boxed count and the electronic count not agree, the voters receipt would be used to discover any fraud or innaccuracies. 20050328 -- DonaldNoyes

See also: WikiWikiGovernment, VotingMachineDiscussion, TechnicalSpecificationForVotingMachines

View edit of November 22, 2005 or FindPage with title or text search