Re: Military voting

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Wed Mar 28 2007 - 20:37:40 CDT

The system proposed by Richard makes sense IF there is some way for the
paper ballots to be used to verify the electronic count. If the paper
ballots are used only for recounts, I still have a problem with the
proposal. The paper ballots might not arrive in time for an audit, and
there may not be any recount. It may also be difficult to impossible to
conduct a meaningful audit without the paper ballots.

An alternative proposal would be to provide the *blank* ballot via the
internet, with the voted ballot returned by mail. Getting the blank
ballot to the military person quickly would deal with part of the delay
problem. If there still is a problem with getting the voted ballots
returned in time, perhaps there could be a few days' grace period for
ballots that are postmarked by Election Day. Because these ballots
won't have been counted initially, it will be possible to start audits
before they have arrived. There also will need to be a way of auditing
military ballots that arrive after Election Day. Of course one then
gets into privacy issues if only a handful of ballots arrive late.

I can't think of any perfect solution. At a minimum people in the
military should be encouraged to mail their voted ballots as early as
possible. That would be facilitated if they are able to obtain the
blank ballot quickly via the internet.


Richard C. Johnson wrote:
> It is feasible, however, to return both paper ballots and matching
> electronic ballots back from overseas and military voters. Open
> Voting Solutions has proposed just such a voting system, using
> military mail and military communications to return votes from abroad
> in time for the original count on the day of voting. This system
> would use Open Source software and off the shelf hardware. Then, the
> following mailed matching ballots will arrive in time to be used in
> recounts as needed. The two ballots will reinforce security for each
> other; it would be extremely difficult to fake each modality in a
> manner exactly matching the other.
> Regardless of one's opinion of any war, we ask young men and women to
> serve their country at great personal risk. I find it very difficult
> to say that it does not matter whether those who risk there lives are
> also effectively deprived of the right to vote. Absentee ballots do
> not work well in many cases and, if they arrive even the next day
> after an election, they may not be counted at all. Our system meets
> the projected and implied requirements expressed in the critique of
> the SERVE system and allows an electronic version of an overseas
> soldier's vote to reach the United States on the same day everyone
> else is voting.
> Anyone interested in military and overseas voting is welcome to
> correspond with me on the topic.
> -- Richard Johnson
> */Barbara Simons <>/* wrote:
> There is no secure way to vote via the internet these days,
> because the
> internet itself is so insecure. Several of us did a security
> assessment
> of SERVE, an "experiment" of internet voting that the DoD was
> planning
> for '04. You can find that paper, which is written for the
> non-specialist, and a short executive summary at
> Although the report was written for SERVE, most of the points are
> general and would apply to any internet voting scheme.
> Regards,
> Barbara
> Michelle Gabriel wrote:
> > Can someone point me to some websites/studies about the best, most
> > secure method for military voting? I understand there isa
> provision in
> > the Holt Bill about military and overseas voting that some have
> > objections to. What is the best way to do this?
> > If I could get some info on this in the next 24 hours it would
> be much
> > appreciated.
> > Could you please pass this request on to any other lists you
> have that
> > might have this information?
> > Thanks,
> > Michelle
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Received on Sat Mar 31 23:17:08 2007

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