[PLUG-TALK] Punch Ballots, Mail Ballots, and Fraud

Paul Heinlein heinlein at madboa.com
Mon Aug 3 14:46:04 PDT 2020


On Mon, 3 Aug 2020, Russell Senior wrote:

>>>>>> "Paul" == Paul Heinlein <heinlein at madboa.com> writes:
>
> Yeah. Any kind of scaling would require coordination and that 
> coordination would inevitably leak, because the conspirators would 
> need to recruit others to the scheme and that recruitment would 
> pretty soon encounter a refusal that would unravel the secrecy 
> required to maintain the conspiracy.

Right! An e-voting machine is far more vulnerable to the malicious 
intentions of a single bad actor or small group thereof. Suborning the 
vote-by-mail system (via voter-side activity) would require a much 
larger conspiracy, which far more likely to revealed.

Suborning the government side of the voting process seems in theory to 
be easier to manage, but I honestly don't know if that's true in fact.

> There was talk a few years ago about doing regular post-election audits
> of samples of ballots. My understanding is that is not part of the
> current process, but was seen as a deterrent to hacking tabulation
> machines.

I think I've read that most precincts are subject to basic statistical 
analysis, which should bring to light any obvious changes in voter 
turnout, party affiliations, etc. In a nail-biter election, that sort 
of analysis wouldn't be of much use, but there are other protections 
in place is really close elections.

> The Techno Activism 3rd Mondays (TA3M) group had a presentation on 
> Oregon voting security a year or so ago that I attended. At least 
> the big counties use high-speed scanners to produce an image of the 
> ballot and do some kind of automated vote extraction from the image. 
> But, again, the exact technology varies by county, and some of the 
> smaller counties might use what seems like archaic technology. The 
> upside is that the small counties have so few voters, their ballots 
> could all be hand-counted by N people in M hours, where N and M are 
> small integers.
>
> I'm pretty confident in the security of Oregon's system.

I am too. It seems that most bad actors in elections work from the 
front side, trying to dissuade voting in the first place.

-- 
Paul Heinlein
heinlein at madboa.com
45°38' N, 122°6' W


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