At 11:09 AM -0600 2/1/2001, (Mr) Lyn R. Kennedy wrote:
>On Thu, Feb 01, 2001 at 09:52:05AM -0500, Arnold G. Reinhold wrote:
>> At 1:36 PM -0800 1/31/2001, Heyman, Michael wrote:
>> > > -----Original Message-----
>> >> From: William Allen Simpson [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
>> >> Subject: Re: electronic ballots
>> >> [SNIP much]
>> >> >
>> >> > It seems that something like a smartcard would be the best scheme.
>> >>
>> >> Not likely.  Voting is very different from banking transactions.  And
>> >> issuing smartcards with special software for voting is likely to be
>> >> prohibitively expensive.
>> >>
>> >
>> >Hmmm, I have a "voter registration card" and I believe that is the case
>> >across the USA. Current smartcards are not very protective of their private
>> >data and I think the security requirements for vote-only cards 
>>would be even
>> >less stringent. Finally, those folks at the MIT Media lab are printing
>> >digital circuits onto plastic using "semiconductor ink".
>> Which state is that? Are you required to produce the card at the
>> polls? Voter registration cards usually refer to the form you fill
>> out when registering to vote. See for example
>> There are no voter ID cards in
>> Massachusetts and weren't in New York when I lived there.  I was
>> under the impression that requiring registered voters to produce
>> identification at the polls was impermissible in the US.
>I live in Texas and get a voter registration card. I take it when I vote
>but doubt that it is required. Interestingly, I have never been asked
>to show any other indication that I was the person named on the card
>other than signing in.

The way voters are authenticated in most U.S. jurisdictions combines 
a bureaucratic process, registration, that is tied to a physical 
address of residence, and an adversarial process, poll watching. 
Since voting takes place in local precincts and the voter lists are 
tied to local addresses, a fraudulent voter faces a significant 
chance of being detected. Each political party is entitled to appoint 
a poll watcher at every precinct, so ultimately the security of the 
system depends on the efforts of each party. There is no assumption 
of a trusted central authority. Indeed the last election suggests 
that there is no central authority that can be trusted.

>Obviously, there should be some method of allowing only people qualified
>to vote in a given precinct to actually cast a ballot there. How could
>that be done without any kind of ID?

Many countries do have a voting ID system. That is one of Polaroid's 
big business areas. But there is a very strong distrust in the U.S. 
of any national ID system on both sides of the political spectrum. 
Maybe the public is ready to reconsider in light of the last 
election, but I doubt it.

>In Florida there were attempts to deny the vote to people supposedly not
>qualified due to a felony conviction. Some of those were not felons and
>had to argue the point. It seems that some method of resolving this
>during the registeration process would be best. But then you need some
>kind of certificate to cast your vote.

What if the voter was convicted after he registered? Of course if 
everyone had a national ID number, then the felon lists could include 
that number, allowing unambiguous rejection of a potential voter. 
Expect fierce opposition to any system that establishes a national ID 

>There are several issues here but none of them should prevent an electronic
>system from being better than the current one.

I'd be interested in your definition of "better."

Arnold Reinhold

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