[LINK] New proposal for e-voting - Turnbull

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at gmail.com
Thu Sep 12 18:04:41 AEST 2013

On 2013/Sep/12, at 3:59 PM, Jan Whitaker wrote:

> At 03:30 PM 12/09/2013, David Boxall wrote:
>> The Act is quite clear. There's ample case law on the subject. For
>> software to permit an invalid vote would probably be illegal.
>> <http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/backgrounders/files/2010-eb-compulsory-voting.pdf> 
> Interesting how words are interpreted based on context.
> Someone may want to check the act for what I'm about to say.
> Allowing an invalid vote to *count* toward a result would be illegal. 
> That's what the scrutineers are for. However, it is obviously NOT 
> illegal for an individual to cast an invalid or what is normally 
> called an informal vote. Otherwise a lot of people would be charged 
> in every election for doing so.
> The question is therefore how to vote informally with an e-vote. I 
> can come up with a specific way. Sign in at the polling desk and 
> immediately turn around and walk out without voting at all. It's not 
> quite as satisfying as putting an X through all the names of the 
> idiots you hate or writing nasty limericks, but the effect is the same.

I'm not sure you're allowed to do that with  paper voting.  You get given your ballot and I think maybe you have to hand in said ballot.  You're not allowed to walk out f the polling place with an empty ballot.

I assume that e-voting will have some equivalent - enabling your voting session.  

> The problem would be if the AEC attaches any identifier to the 
> individual at the time and logs them into a computer, keeps track of 
> a vote against that login, then takes action against the person who 
> walks out. If the voting system turns into a tracking system, they 
> would be acting outside the law (that's the part that would need to 
> be checked against the Act. And no, I didn't read the link above.)

I have assumed that you are allowed, under the act to make an informal vote.  An informal vote is a legal vote.  Therefore an e-voting machine must allow that too.  Since your vote is supposed to be guaranteed secret then no-one is allowed to track informal voters.

Which reminds me again (we have had this discussion before) that EMF radiation from normal computers and monitors can make it possible to detect from a distance what people vote.  I believe e-voting machines were banned in the Netherlands for that reason.

Kim Holburn
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