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Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested In India 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the curiosity-killed-the-cat dept.
whatajoke writes "Hari Prasad, a security researcher in India who had demonstrated the vulnerability of electronic voting machines used in all elections in India, was arrested by the police on charges of stealing an electronic voting machine. The election commission of India has maintained that EVM are non-hackable. The election commission had previously provided access to the device to the security researchers for a day and asked for a hack in only that time."
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Electronic Voting Researcher Arrested In India

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  • governments (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:46PM (#33334376) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't matter where you are, there is a government there, some are worse than others, but all of them have evolved into similar structures with the relationship between a citizen and government of a country is very abusive, and the government is the one doing the abuse.

    Name a country, any country, there are people there abused their governments, it is what it is. Feels like terrorism against governments is the only meaningful life pursuit at this point.

    • Re:governments (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:54PM (#33334428)

      Yeah, or maybe he really stole a voting machine. Shouldn't people usually be arrested for doing that?

      • Re:governments (Score:4, Informative)

        by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum.m[ ]edu ['it.' in gap]> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:12PM (#33334558) Homepage

        According to http://www.indiaevm.org/ [indiaevm.org], the voting machine studied was "provided by an anonymous source". So it may have been stolen, though apparently by someone else. He might be guilty of something, but it would be receiving stolen property, not theft. Or maybe the source had legitimate access to the machine. It is also not clear whether the machine was returned.

        • by MRe_nl (306212) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:27PM (#33334688)

          "The arrest was made on the flimsy charge of 'theft of EVM' used for vulnerability demonstration by Hari Prasad and a team of security researchers that included Alex Halderman, professor of computer science, University of Michigan and Rop Gonggrijp, a security researcher from Netherlands along with a team of their colleagues".

          For more info see http://www.youtube.com/user/ropgonggrijp [youtube.com]

          Hack-tic times.

          • by belmolis (702863)

            Repeating that paragraph doesn't contribute anything as far as I can tell to the details of how they obtained the machine. What's your point?

          • by bane2571 (1024309)
            So, they had an EVM, not provided by the government when the government owns every EVM. "No officer, I didn't steal it, I was just holding it for a friend." Pfft.
            • by MRe_nl (306212)

              Ah yes, the old "Guilty until proven Innocent beyond any reasonable doubt" aka "Shut up, Peasant".
              You wouldn't happen to be in Law Enforcement?
              What part of "Provided by an anonymous source for scientific purposes" equates to "No officer, I didn't steal it, I was just holding it for a friend"?
              As an aside, governments don't own anything, they're just taking care of stuff for the real owners, their bosses. Which would be "We, The People" (hypothetically anyway ; ).

              • by thrawn_aj (1073100) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:36PM (#33335576)

                While you're correct as a matter of principle, the legal theory of "innocent until proven guilty" (while self-evident) is only valid (again, from a legal point of view) in the United States (which is why I'm glad I live here now - the justice system sucks balls in India). I assure you that things are quite excellent in the US when you compare it to the rest of the world.

                A blanket shout-out to everyone in this thread - this is a different country we're talking about. Check your US-centric legal opinions at the door before posting ;)

              • by bane2571 (1024309) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:26PM (#33336574)
                "Provided by an anonymous source for scientific purposes"

                So their "friend" provided them with something they had no legal right/reason to have and they were holding it when the officer arrested them.

                Seems like a pretty accurate example of "I was just holding it" to me.
                • by quanticle (843097)

                  You're not understanding. "Innocent until proven Guilty," implies that its the prosecutor's job to prove that Mr. Prasad actually stole the voting machine. He or she can do this via direct evidence (showing video footage or securing eyewitness testimony) or via circumstantial evidence (fingerprints and the like). The one thing he or she cannot do is just say, "Well, obviously he's lying. Look at the flimsiness of his alibi!"

                  The fact that he had no legal right or reason to hold the property does not mean

              • by DavidTC (10147)

                Um, if there is no legal way to get something, then, yes, it was ipso facto stolen by someone if someone ends up with it. And if the person possessing it knows there's no legal way to get it, they are knowingly in possession of stolen property.

                Don't go inventing a lack of crime because you approve of the crime. I think electronic voting machines are profoundly undemocratic, and everyone who has ever promoted them or sold them in, any way, should be charged with treason. (Although those charges would be har

            • by quanticle (843097)

              The fact remains that the government has presented no evidence that he, himself stole the voting machine. It could be as others have stated - Mr. Prasad is guilty of receiving stolen property, but not stealing the property itself.

          • So the person who wrote the article called it flimsy. I'm not sure that qualifies as an explanation of where the machine came from.
      • Re:governments (Score:4, Informative)

        by OFnow (1098151) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:00PM (#33335324)

        Yeah, or maybe he really stole a voting machine.

        The article says it was given to a group of researchers for a day, who found nasty defects
        and the politicians did not like that. Nothing suggests the machine was not
        returned after a day. Retroactively the grant of the machine is now
        considered theft. One suspects the intent is to discredit the research.

    • Pontifications...

      Dude, he STOLE the machine.

    • by johnhp (1807490)
      Domestic terrorism against a typical government wouldn't do a thing to improve it. If anything it might cause retribution against the people.
    • Re:governments (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:04PM (#33334506) Homepage
      It's more do do with, way too few people wanting to hold their elected officials accountable.

      So those few who do, are easy to eliminate.

      Take your own country USA for example, as an Indian, I can't help but laugh when I see people being used as mere pawns in the bi-partisanship circus. The right and the left both are equally suckered in to believing that the other side is evil, and will be the end of your country if given a chance to govern. Very few realize that both are sides of the same coin. Same BS sold in different flavor.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        I am not an American and never lived in the US though I have visited a few places there, just saying.

      • by FudRucker (866063)
        http://i.imgur.com/twXeS.jpg [imgur.com] yup, its one big old dirty bird
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yaa 101 (664725)

        Officials in most parts of Asia are prepared to hire a killer to murder the one that make them lose face, that is what is going on here, he is lucky to be alive today.

        Losing face is the thing that provokes most anger in especially Asian countries.

        Oh yes... I do agree with your insight regarding the US.

      • by Skapare (16644)

        It is obvious to us that these statements from both parties about the other being evil, and will destroy the country if allowed to govern, is about the only real truth we get from either one of them. That's why we have to keep them carefully balanced against each other to keep them both from being able to govern.

      • by yyxx (1812612)

        You only think it's a "bi-partisanship circus" because you don't understand how the US political system works.

      • by EEPROMS (889169)
        Very few realize that both are sides of the same coin. Same BS sold in different flavor.

        So true, we just had a federal election here in Australia and both parties campaigned in such a similar way (both using bean counter spin doctors) that they "pretty much got the same amount of votes" from the Australian people as we couldn't really decide on who to vote for (no clear out standing leader). So now we have a hung parliament with both parties now sucking up to the far right and left independents who took o
        • Yeah well maybe now they will pull their heads out of their asses and start finding out what people really want. Getting a Hung parliament should send the message people are getting fed up with the bullshit, lies and spin.

    • Re:governments (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fastest fascist (1086001) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:14PM (#33334580)
      What do you propose, exactly, as the goal to be achieved by wanton acts of violence? As long as you have government, you will have abuses. That is the nature of the beast - deciding how power is distributed and whose rights come first. You always end up trampling on someone, either by design or by accident.

      As for having no government... I can't really grasp what that would mean. Government is the entity with the power to make others bend to its will. I have a hard time seeing a group of people of any appreciable size where such an entity does not arise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clang_jangle (975789)
        I think the key is to always have a fresh, young government. That's one possible way to help keep the level of corruption low, creating a new government every so often (say 20 years or so). Our 200+ year old system has long since overstayed its welcome, becoming impossibly corrupt and ineffective at meeting the needs of the people.
        • Re:governments (Score:4, Insightful)

          by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:30PM (#33334706) Homepage Journal

          Yes, but have you ever heard of any government just giving up its powers? That is completely unheard of, that's the trillion dollar reason why there were so many revolutions all over the world, civil wars, so called 'terrorists' etc., understand, they all were fighting the machine one way or another.

          Lately the masses have been brainwashed so much, they completely don't understand this, but think back through some of the revolutions and civil wars... you know, many kings had their heads chopped off...

          • Yes exactly my point, I was agreeing with you. I believe government should step down or be overthrown periodically, as did several of this nation's founders.
          • by TubeSteak (669689)

            Yes, but have you ever heard of any government just giving up its powers? That is completely unheard of, that's the trillion dollar reason why there were so many revolutions all over the world, civil wars, so called 'terrorists' etc., understand, they all were fighting the machine one way or another.

            Turkey had a military coup in 1980 and the ruling junta put out a Constitution for public referendum.
            After it was ratified, the Generals organized a general election and stepped aside.

            Of course, the Generals pretty much got to dictate who was allowed to run for office,
            which makes it a shitty example of a government giving up its powers, but it's an example nonetheless.

          • Dutch... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by denzacar (181829) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:42AM (#33338320) Journal

            In 2002 Dutch government resigned as they have accepted partial responsibility for Srebrenica Massacre. [wikipedia.org]
            Mind you, this was a government resigning over something that happened long before they were in office [wikipedia.org] and over an act that they did not instigate.
            So not only did the government step down, it took on their shoulders what they felt was NATIONAL shame.

            Sort of like what should the current US government resign over the My Lai Massacre. [wikipedia.org]
            Except US soldiers actually massacred the civilians there, while Dutch soldiers only failed to protect the civilians.

        • Tell that to South America...
        • That means not only do you permanently have inexperienced people running everything, you also never get to do anything.
          Most country- or state-wide projects take decades to develop and bring to fruition. And the bigger the project, the longer it takes. [wikipedia.org]
          And lets not even start with international agreements and treaties once you decide to DROP TABLE on the government every 20 years.

          The constant system change (I assume you mean something like replacing republic with democracy, democracy with feudalism, feudalism

      • He probably read V for Vendetta [wikipedia.org] once.

        So naturally, now he thinks he understands and knows EVERYTHING.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by grelmar (1823402)
      You're IP has been noted and the Men In Black will be visiting shortly.
    • Re:governments (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 5pp000 (873881) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:23PM (#33335076)

      Flamebait? Come on, mods. You can find very similar statements in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Like this one: "The tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of tyrants."

      • Re:governments (Score:5, Insightful)

        by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:31PM (#33335132) Homepage Journal

        You think Jefferson would be electable in the USA today? I think not.

      • by 5pp000 (873881) *

        Everyone's jumping on the fact that the GP seems to be advocating terrorism. But though he didn't express himself well, I don't think for a moment he actually wants to commit or even encourage terrorist acts. He's simply observing, as indeed Jefferson did, that concentrations of power tend toward tyranny. That's why we have the Constitutional separation of powers: to put bounds on each branch of government so that it can't take over.

        I'm not advocating terrorism either; and I'd go so far as to suggest t

    • It is amazing what ppl can get away with when they own the legal system.

      Most of the governments on earth have become horribly corrupt.

  • Surely this will increase the security of electronic voting in India.

  • Oops... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:55PM (#33334444) Journal
    It looks like somebody may have violated the time-honored "never embarrass overconfident idiots, however tempting it is" rule...
  • by iamhassi (659463) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:58PM (#33334466) Journal
    I keep reading story after story of how easily hackable these machines are and my only question is why do they keep making easily hackable machines? Who are the geniuses making a voting machine that can be hacked? Why aren't they contacting these professors and researchers while they're creating the machine and say "Hey you're good at hacking. We're trying to create a voting machine that can not be hacked, can you help us?"

    I just don't understand, it's like building a car that explodes at the slightest impact [wikipedia.org] and then arresting people that expose it. Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?
    • by grim4593 (947789) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:04PM (#33334508)
      Maybe, just MAYBE the companies want the machines to be able to be hacked by the Right People. So when word gets out that these machines have flaws that anyone with the right tools and knowledge can control it makes things harder for the company, and those Right People get miffed.
      • Conspiracy theorist! Pay no attention to him!

        He thinks George Bush is responsible for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina too!
        ;
    • by dissy (172727)

      I just don't understand, it's like building a car that explodes at the slightest impact and then arresting people that expose it. Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?

      I dunno.. they already have all the infrastructure in place to arrest people.

      They don't seem like they are very set up to make secure voting machines.
      Even if they were, I don't see any reason to believe that is one of their stated goals anyway.

      • by Kaboom13 (235759)

        Allowing secret ballots (No one except you knows who you voted for) and ballots that can't be cheated on is nigh impossible. It can't be done even for paper ballots, so why should a machine with thousands of parts involved be able to do it? The only difference with electronic ballots is because people can not see and understand the processes that go on inside them, it is easier for a smaller group of people to alter them without being caught. If someone is molesting paper ballots in some way, it is obvio

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)

          > Allowing secret ballots (No one except you knows who you voted for) and ballots that can't be cheated on is nigh impossible

          Watch this:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=ZDnShu5V99s [youtube.com]

          So it is possible.

          To me paper ballots are good enough though, and especially when there are masses of uneducated people. It is easier for them to understand how the paper ballots work and how they are secured and counted (assuming you have a good system for all that).

          There is a very important requirement for voting systems t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Krahar (1655029)
      Security is hard and electronic voting machines are not a mature product. Give it 50 years and probably electronic voting machine security will have improved.
      • That's stupid. We had the expertise and technology to make them secure ten years ago. We certainly have the expertise and technology to do it today. However, there are a few problems:

        1) Government contracts go to the lowest bidder, or to the company of a friend of someone high up in the government. Neither means security.
        2) Election fraud has been happening for a couple thousand years now. No reason to expect it to stop with electronic voting. In fact, it most likely goes up. That requires insecure machin
        • by Krahar (1655029)
          You are right that with sufficient resources invested it would be possible to create machines that would be harder to compromise than those we have today. It seems you are trying to disagree with my post, but you didn't actually manage to do so. But let me disagree with you and say that there is no such thing as an electronic voting machine that can be known to "be secure" in the sense that we can know that no compromise could ever happen. That is not how security of software or hardware works today, and I
          • But it doesn't have to "be secure" so that nothing ever can possibly go wrong. It just has to "be as secure as" paper ballots. That's definitely doable now, and was doable 10 years ago. The problem isn't the maturity - it's the people implementing it.

            I don't think that 50 years of maturity will make a difference. If the same sorts of idiots are in charge of setting the voting system up, it will be just as problematic.
    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Yeah, and why do operating systems have exploits in them? People who write operating systems should contact security researchers and tell them to work for free and find all the exploits.

    • by eulernet (1132389) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:05PM (#33334938)

      Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?

      Why would they need a voting machine ?

      There are several major problems with voting machines in India:
        1) you cannot double-check the vote, thus cheating is easy, even if you have secure machines.
        2) a lot of people in India don't know how to read, and simple tasks like voting with a computer is impossible for them.
        3) machines need electricity. In India, there can be an outage at any time of the day.

      Before using expensive voting machines, India's governement should concentrate on improving the infrastructures, like water, electricity and roads.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I salute your logic dude :)

        >> 1) you cannot double-check the vote, thus cheating is easy, even if you have secure machines.

        Yes, you can double check. Infact check it thrice, four times, N times...

        >> 2) a lot of people in India don't know how to read, and simple tasks like voting with a computer is impossible for them.

        People don't read, they do see party symbols, and they press the vote for the symbols. And surprise - surprise, statistically it is the illiterates who vote the most. The middle cla

    • They can make slot games that can't be hacked that easy and why can't they use the guys who code them to make voteing systems?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        Slot games *can* be hacked, which is why there are multiple levels of brutes, pit bosses, etc. watching to make sure you don't have the opportunity to.

        The thing that makes slot machines secure is the layers and layers of people watching the process.

        But even all that only protects the owners of the machines from hacking by you. It doesn't go the other way around. Now, how do you suggest building the analogous into the voting system while still keeping voting anonymous?

    • More Information (Score:5, Informative)

      by Philom (24273) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:57PM (#33335740)
      I'm a professor at the University of Michigan, and I coauthored the voting study at issue with Hari Prasad. I've posted part of a phone call with Hari while he was in the police car [freedom-to-tinker.com], along with more details about the arrest.
      • by MRe_nl (306212)

        I've put a link to the same (via Rop's youtube-account) an hour ago somewhere higher-up in the thread.

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      Wouldn't it be easier just to make a better voting machine?

      But that's not profitable unless the government is willing to pay extra for that. And clearly, they aren't.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:25PM (#33334674) Homepage Journal

    1) The voter gets to see the vote being cast.
    2) Auditors and manual re-counters get to see the exact same thing the voter saw. This means it must be a tangible artifact.
    3a) Audit all elections "to 5%" or "to the margin of victory" whichever is less. This provides a very high confidence any fraud wasn't enough to sway the elections nor was it enough to sway more than 5% of the tally. Do the same if any candidate is "close" to a significant threshold number, such as the number of votes needed to avoid a runoff.
    3b) Random audits "to 0.5%" or some other high confidence interval sufficient to expose and deter general game-playing by a candidate who lost so bad that the cheating didn't help him. If a losing candidates know they have a 1 in 10 chance of getting a "very close audit" they won't try to play games.
    4) Automatic recounts using different equipment PLUS a more thorough audit on any close election.
    5a) Manual recounts on any close election on the request of the candidate who is within the "margin of possible error/fraud" that the audits show could exist.
    5b) Manual recounts on any election where any candidate is very close to a significant threshold number.

    It's not hard folks. Machine-readable paper ballots typically meet 1 & 2. The rest is a matter of spending money after the votes are initially tallied, not a function of the voting machines.

    Auditing an election of, say, 3M voters where one candidate allegedly beat the other 50.5% to 46.5% to 3% for minor candidates need only determine that there's less than a 5% chance that the true election result had the winning candidate with 50%+1 votes to avoid a runoff. With a paper ballot satisfying #1 and #2 and generally accepted statistical analysis, this won't require a recount of nearly the entire pool of votes, only a random sample from each ballot box sufficiently large to rule out the need for a runoff.

    If on the other hand the alleged winning amount was exactly 1,500,001 out of 3M votes, or if it was 1,499,499 and the winner wanted a recount to avoid a runoff, a full manual recount would likely be necessary.

    • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:50PM (#33334816)

      There are two contradictory things which must happen for machine voting.

      1. Each person must be identifiable as having voted and see the result of the vote.

      2. Each vote must be anonymous.

      Machine readable ballots make sense, but they still leave the possibility of simple fraud. Take a stack of ballots and replace them with your own skewed ballots. This means that each ballot must have a unique identification, while at the same time have no way of revealing the name of the voter. I've heard of states allowing mail in ballots, this makes some sense although things do get lost in the mail. The best solution I can come up with is a ballot that you have to pick up in person from the DMV possibly. It has its own serial number and when you pick it up it is entered into the system, not as a vote from you, but simply as a vote. Your information is also entered into the system. Neither is time/date stamped and both are randomized as much as possible to hide voter identity.When you have made your educated vote you return the ballot to the polling station. If there is any doubt then the number of people who voted can be checked against the number of ballots. Also it seems logical that an individual can check to see if he/she voted, for example if I voted in the last presidential election, but I didn't actually vote it would be a sign of fraud.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        There are two contradictory things which must happen for machine voting.

        1. Each person must be identifiable as having voted and see the result of the vote.

        2. Each vote must be anonymous.

        No. That is classic, "the enemy of good is perfect" thinking.

        Voting fraud is as old as voting. The only thing that must happen is for the new voting system to be better than whatever it replaces. It doesn't even have to be significantly better at preventing fraud if it has other beneficial characteristics like making it possible for people to vote who couldn't easily vote before (people living way out in the boonies, those who can't read because they are illiterate or blind, etc).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by causality (777677)

          those who can't read because they are illiterate

          Do you really want illiterate people voting? What makes you believe they would be informed about the issues and candidates, especially when you consider that the literate have a huge advantage in this area and still remain so ignorant? If you agree that they are likely to be uninformed about those things, what makes you desire that people who are uninformed about their system of government and the issues of their time should vote?

          If it were up to me you'

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            it were up to me you'd have to pass an incredibly tough civics test before being permitted to vote. You'd have to pass it each election during which you vote. Particularly emphasized would be what the Constitution does and does not say, the notion that the federal government has no powers at all (AT ALL!) except those granted to it by the Constitution, the difference between a republic and a democracy, the difference between interstate and intrastate affairs, the separation of powers, the correct role of th

          • by Anonymous Coward

            She became blind as an adult.

            It took her several years to learn to read Braille.

            In the meantime, she was illiterate.

            Before becoming blind she earned a 4-year college degree.

            The late CEO of Wendy's Restaurants, Dave Thomas, was illiterate until well into adulthood.

            By the way, we had literacy tests in America for decades. They were fraudulently used to keep non-whites and other "undesirables" from voting. Even if they had been used in an objectively fair manner, they would've had the effect of keeping the u

            • by Yetihehe (971185)

              Even if they had been used in an objectively fair manner, they would've had the effect of keeping the uneducated voiceless by keeping them out of the political process.

              That's the point. To remove those uneducated people, because often they are easy manipulated.

          • Do you really want illiterate people voting?

            Yes. Poor people have just as much right to self-determination as anyone else. Especially in countries like India where a large number of people don't need to read or write to live their daily lives and presuming that not knowing something they don't necessarily need should disqualify them from having a valid opinion is the kind of elitism that rationalizes a dictatorship.

          • by Dhalka226 (559740)

            When it comes to voting, quantity in and of itself is undesirable. What you need is quality. If you can have both, that's wonderful. If you must choose, quantity is expendable.

            That's your opinion. It's not a bad one, not at all. In fact I am *this close* to agreeing with you.

            What you're attempting to do is devise a system whereby the voters make the best choice. Ignoring the fact that that's one of the questions voting is meant to answer, that's a perfectly valid approach. After all, even if our candi

          • by hanwen (8589)

            If the a test were to be applied, it should rather be to votees, so they actually have notions of economy, science, history, etc. That would keep people like G.W. Bush out of the office.

      • When you have made your educated vote you return the ballot to the polling station.

        Well there's your fatal flaw in an otherwise good plan.

      • Those are, in fact, not contradictory, if you believe this guy [youtube.com]. I really encourage you to check this link out and listen to it in its entirety, it's very interesting.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:33PM (#33334738) Homepage Journal

    Machine-readable paper ballots have three major flaws:
    1) cost and bulk
    2) not usable without assistance by blind and those who can't use a marking pen
    3) High waste or too costly with multi-precinct ballots or multi-language ballots, where a single voting station may have hundreds of different ballots and keeping a sufficient supply of each is difficult.

    To help with #2 and #3, you can use a machine that prints the ballot "on-demand," either blank or, if the voter wants to use the touch-screen or other machine-input to indicate his vote, filled out.

    The voter fills out the ballot if he didn't have the machine do it for him, examines it for correctness, and puts it in the ballot box as you would with a machine-readable paper ballot today. From here on out the system is identical to today's machine-readable paper ballot system.

    This would allow those who cannot mark a ballot but who can read the filled-in ballot the ability to cast their vote unassisted.

    Blind people could use on-site "reading" machines to verify the ballot unassisted or, if they didn't trust the government, they could bring their own document-reading hardware, or bring a trusted sighted friend to verify the ballot is accurate.

    By printing non-common languages or outlying precinct ballots only "on demand" or only as needed to have a small supply of each at any given time, it would save paper.

  • by straponego (521991) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:54PM (#33334836)
    ...is a crook or a fool. You can reduce the probability of hacking... by an amount that is not easy to quantify.

    I heard an interview with an enthusiastic Indian programmer/marketer (sorry, I don't recall if I heard his exact job description), in which he claimed that very soon Indians would be vote via mobile phones. &#65279;What a recipe for disaster. It's difficult to think of a less reliable and verifiable voting mechanism-- though it would certainly destroy anonymity for honest voters. It's not impossible that someday an open source, mobile voting platform will be more secure than existing mechanisms. But that will be many years in the future, and not developed quickly and cheaply in a nation overrun with corruption (so our best bet is somewhere in Scandinavia).

    Where there is a large incentive to cheat (to gain money, power, women), many people will try to cheat. Especially in societies with more habitual defectors than habitual cooperators (such as the US and India). Anybody who says otherwise is trying to cheat you.

What hath Bob wrought?

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