[LINK] New proposal for e-voting - Turnbull

Robert Brockway robert at timetraveller.org
Wed Sep 11 13:13:48 AEST 2013

On Tue, 10 Sep 2013, Jan Whitaker wrote:

> [We didn't hear a thing about it this time, even for disabled access.
> What happened to the 'next big thing'? I'd be interested in Linkers'
> view of the security of evoting now - have things changed or is
> Diebold still sus?]

My view is that the code would need to be FOSS and there should be an easy 
to way to verify crypto hashes of the OS components, application, etc. 
Even this can be compromised if you tamper with the machine at a 
sufficiently low level.

> http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/lets-ditch-the-paper-ballots-and-go-electric-malcolm-turnbull-20130910-2thiy.html
> The man likely to be the new communications minister has suggested
> Australia should consider a switch to electronic voting at federal
> elections in order to cut down on informal and fraudulent voting.

It seems to me that this would only help if the website checked validity 
of the vote, warning before accepting an informal vote.  I'd feel uneasy 
if the site did anything more than warn.

> An AEC analysis of informal votes cast at the 2010 federal election
> found that 28.9 per cent were blank ballots and 16.9 per cent had
> scribbles, slogans or other protest marks.

These are likely deliberate.  It is unlikely anyone thought that a blank 
ballot would get counted.  People may be unaware of the rules regaring 
identifying marks.

> The proportion of ballots that only had a '1' was 27.8 per cent, 11.8
> per cent had ticks and crosses and 9.2 per cent had non-sequential numbering.

The first of these vanishes if we change to optional preferential voting 
at a federal level.  The fact that some states use optional preferential 
while federal elections do not is considered confusing to many voters.

Even aside from the informal problem I'd much rather we used optional 
preferential at federal level.

> Mr Turnbull, who was easily elected to his Sydney seat of Wentworth
> on Saturday, said he thought there was also a large number of people
> who voted fraudulently, "in the sense that they go to the polling
> place and say they're someone else".

In Canada (where I used to live) and many other industrialised nations, it 
is necessary to take identification to vote.  Canada has alternatives 
(such as having another identifiable voter swear to your identity) in 
cases where no documentary identification is available.

When I voted at the Australian High Commission in Toronto the high 
commission staff member politely asked for photo ID.  I knew it wasn't 
required but I didn't object.  Presumably this is their policy for 
overseas voters.

> Mr Turnbull said that electronic voting could be done in a closed
> network in the polling booth so that it could not be hacked from the internet.

That protects against some of the risks but not others.  If we go down 
that road we need to do it properly.

Turnbull (or those reporting what he said) seem to have conflated the 
issues of Internet/remote voting and electronic voting at a polling 
staton.  They are quite distinct.   Remote voting has real privacy 
concerns of course although these could be dealt with.



Email: robert at timetraveller.org		Linux counter ID #16440
IRC: Solver (OFTC & Freenode)
Web: http://www.pracops.com
Director, Software in the Public Interest (http://spi-inc.org/)
Information behaves like a gas

More information about the Link mailing list