[clug] e-Voting: What would you want in a smartphone App?

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Fri Mar 19 23:02:37 MDT 2010

Neill Cox wrote on 20/03/10 3:00 PM:
> The most compelling argument that Rusty gave against e-voting was
> social. If someone votes outside of a polling place, how do you
> guarantee that their vote has not been coerced ?
> Apart from that there's no way I'd trust an iPhone it's too closed a
> platform. I don't think I'd trust MS, Google or Nokia either though.
> Guess U'll just have to stick to paper voting ;)

Neither would I trust something that was entirely digital. Wasn't
suggesting it, in fact, exactly the opposite.

In my post I suggested a smartphone app do nothing more than *print* a
ballot paper, filled with your preferences.

I.e. You enter the polling place, identify yourself to the polling
official, get signed off and say you wish to have "an e-vote tag".
They offer you a container of tags and you randomly take one. [No record
made or possible.]

You walk up to a printer booth, stand there and hit 'print' on the App
and watch as a bit of paper (or two) emerges from the printer.

Perhaps you have to return your tag to access the printout, something
like a Perspex box with a double lid (think library return chute) that
unlocks access to the printout.
[Modulo printer jams and non-tags being 'returned'.]
Note: nothing electronic in the tag return.
No way to associate a tag with a vote.

You pick the newly printed voting form up, look at it and confirm that
it says what you want.
If it doesn't, I guess you put it in the shredder right there and walk
back to the electoral officer and get a pre-printed voting paper.

When you have a paper form filled in to your liking, drop it in the
ballot box and exit the polling place.

No trust what-so-ever in the App.
It's just a way to quickly prepare a paper vote.

The real benefit to the Electoral commission would be in they could
automate the counting of votes in a trusted and verifiable fashion.

As for coercion:
polling place officials are quite alert to this.

My suggestion is that the App allows you to alter your vote on the
smartphone right up until you hit 'print'.

If someone has pre-filled your vote on the smartphone, you get the
opportunity (while standing *alone*) in the printer-booth to change it,
or shred the printout and request a normal ballot paper.

Some people have their own reasons to vote according to someone else's
wishes. I've heard a number of very good accounts that are entirely
voluntary, no coercion involved... More prevalent in the USA with
optional voting.

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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