Voting

There are many voting systems used in throughout the world for various reasons.

Various mathmatical criteria have been devised for fair elections.

For years I’ve heard people arguing that we should have internet voting. There as been much research in the area, but one thing I’ve never seen mentioned in any of these is faith in the electoral process.

One criteria that needs to be met is that the majority of people need to have faith that the electoral system represents the will of the people. Can it be hacked? Can a political party interfere with the counting?

I would say one criteria for any voting system is that an average person (and even somewhat below average) can understand how the entire process works and that if that person wanted to they could monitor the election process to ensure its integrity.

A voter makes a mark on a piece of paper, the paper is put in a box, a group of people count the votes in the box, another group of people monitors the counting. Vote totals are reported up the chain to the state level. The state shows the counts for each precinct. The typical voter can understand how this works and could even monitor the process. Understandably not everyone can monitor every part of the process, but a random selection of the populace could be chosen and would be able to understand and follow the process to ensure its integrity.

Contrast this with internet voting. Cryptography is somehow involved. Secure computers are used. Source code is audited. Computers are locked down. However, only those with advanced math degrees really understand cryptography. Only security experts understand how the bits flow over the internet. The whole process relies on experts. The average people will always need to trust that an ‘expert’ somewhere is doing their job correctly, never mind concerns about bribery, foreign interference or other malfeasance.

Vote by mail has other issues which I may address in a future blog post.

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