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Voting for Dummies

(title refers to voters, not candidates)
  (+3, -4)
(+3, -4)
  [vote for,

Replace paper ballots with touch screens. Voters would just touch an image of their preferred candidate. A short summary video of the candidate's positions would then play and the voter would be asked to confirm his/her vote by touching a button. No mistakes, no fraud, instant results and no hanging chads. A bit more expensive than the current system, but maybe we could get some of these dotcom billionaires to subsidize the effort.
Jadu, Nov 17 2000

Voting for Dummies (mock-up) http://www.ilovebac...es/111500voting.jpg
The image [supercat] remembered. [jutta, Nov 17 2000]

slashdot: reuters: Microsoft, Unisys & Dell ... http://slashdot.org...2211224&mode=thread
... To Make New Voting System. No indication that this will actually be sold to anyone, mind. [jutta, Nov 17 2000]


       Of course, you could solve the problem of ugly candidates by having them all played by actors and actressess, possibly with the real candidate hiding back at campaign headquarters.....   

       Come to think of it this might already have happened...
imagooAJ, Nov 20 2000

       I'm less worried about hackers than about bugs. Other high-risk applications, like bank software, can do various kinds of validation, making sure that the total amount of cash comes out right and so on. How do you do that with a secret ballot? There's nothing to check the results against.
baf, Nov 20 2000

       How about if every machine prints out a reciept, when someone votes. Reciepts are then deposited in a box on the way out. Thus if fraud is suspected then the box can always be counted. That is supposing the Florida police haven't hidden it somewhere....
imagooAJ, Nov 20 2000

       As soon as you print human-readable receipts, you enable sales of votes - paradoxically, letting you prove who you voted for even after the fact is not a good thing.   

       (Or am I being too paranoid? I was assuming that this was a widely recognized and avoided problem.)
jutta, Nov 21 2000

       Regarding Aristotle's comment, the system could work like a cash register, printing an internal receipt/ballot for accounting purposes and an external receipt for the voter. The voter's receipt would be similar to current receipts, noting that the voter cast a vote, but not indicating the vote. Until the system is foolproof, this would allow for manual verification.
Jadu, Nov 21 2000

       Someone came up with a picture of a "Voting for Dummies" book. Too bad I don't have the link handy, and the machine hosting my known copy of the link is down.   

       As for electronic voting, I would like to see cast ballots stored on OTPROMs along with validation information. For those not technically inclined, an OTPROM chip holds thousands or millions of bits, all of which initially read as "1"'s. Any bits may be selectively "burned" so they'll store "0"'s instead, but once a bit has been changed from a "1" to a "0" it is physically impossible to change it back.   

       Aside from some header/ID blocks, each chip would hold a number of e.g. 128-byte blocks. When a voter starts the machine, a block would be randomly selected. When the voter finished voting, his votes would be stored in that block with validation information (e.g. for each candidate there could be a "yes" bit and a "no" bit, exactly one of which would be programmed).   

       The total number of non-blank ballot blocks should (i.e. had better) match the total number of voters, and once a voter's ballot has been stored in a block it would be impossible to alter it undetectably. All that would be necessary would be to ensure that the chip itself is not physically tampered with or swapped; this is probably easier with a small chip than with a box of ballots.
supercat, Jan 09 2001


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