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Reply #7: Secret ballots prevent coercion and vote selling. What about that? [View All]

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-10-10 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Secret ballots prevent coercion and vote selling. What about that?
I don't know if you're advocating for doing away with secret ballots, but coercion/intimidation and vote buying/selling seem like valid concerns to me.

Using crypto methods, a voter could verify that her own votes were cast correctly without revealing the vote choices to anyone else. To audit the system would also require tabulation checks, but only after enough ballots were proven to be authentic. These checks are not so easy for average voters to perform. They would have to rely on trusted academics and computer scientists to create an alternate tabulation method such as in Humboldt County, CA. (I'm not sure why such experts should be trusted any more than anyone else when it comes to elections. They screwed up big time when they decided that a 2% spot check of precincts would be enough for federal elections a few years ago, and they did it again by advocating for 3%, 5% and 10% spot checks in the latter versions of the Holt bill.)

However, I suppose if enough independently developed home brew systems or such systems run by opposing parties all came up with similar election results, there would be some degree of certainty in the outcome of the elections -- assuming that the ballots were shown to be authentic. But even these methods don't seem to be gaining widespread acceptance among election officials and even less so among legislators, most of whom are completely clueless about the need to verify computerized vote counts.

Such methods should also be supplemented by hand counts, which have gained even less acceptance.

The only reasonable conclusion I can come to, other than heads-in-the-sand, is that there is a desire to preserve the ability to cheat where it exists, or create it where it does not exist (such as by replacing HCPB and lever voting machines with computers); or a desire on the part of certain influential election lawyers to supplement their incomes, which at least in part depend on the continued or newly engendered uncertainty of electoral outcomes.

In this climate, we voters will never be sure if our elections are honest or rigged.
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