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[liberationtech] Egyptian government to introduce e-voting system

Sheila Parks sheilaruthparks at comcast.net
Thu Apr 7 05:10:33 PDT 2011


Good Morning,

What a lovely email to wake up to - thanks Marco

This is the email I told Pranesh I was too tired to respond to last 
night and just forwarded my response to him to whole group

My responses here in CAPS, not screaming, simply to distinguish mine 
from Marco'sAt 01:50 AM 4/7/2011, M. Fioretti wrote:
>Greetings,
>
>first a short introduction about myself, since I only subscribed a
>couple weeks ago and this is my first post here: I'm a freelance
>writer/trainer working on Free Software and impacts of digital
>technologies on education, civil rights and other fields. You may read
>more about my work at http://mfioretti.com
>
>This discussion about e-voting is really interesting. Personally, I am
>against e-voting, at leat for national political elections, for
>several reasons I explained here:

SOME VOTING RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN US ALSO SAY  USE  HCPB ONLY 
FOR  NATIONAL ELECTIONS.  I TOOK THAT POSITION IN 2007 WITH A PAPER I 
WROTE, BUT HAVE SINCE LEFT IT.  IT TRIVIALIZES LOCAL ELECTIONS, WHICH 
I BELIEVE ARE AS IMPORTANT AS NATIONAL.  AND IF THE E-VOTING MACHINES 
ARE SO RIGGABLE, WHY WOULD WE USE THEM FOR ANY ELECTIONS?




>http://stop.zona-m.net/2007/07/is-e-voting-a-solution-to-which-problem/
>
>but especially for one: in my opinion e-voting is
>antidemocratic, because:
>
>- all citizens can control in real time if there is a fraud with
>   counting paper ballots, as long as they can read and count


YES


>- only computer experts (a tiny, tiny, tiny minority, ie an
>   aristocracy) can control if there is a fraud with electronic voting,
>   and even this only in theory IMO.


YES AND ELECTIONS MUST BELONG TO ALL THE PEOPLE.  ELECTIONS NEED TO 
BE UNDERSTOOD EVEN BY A THIRD GRADE STUDENT AND NOT  LEFT TO THE 
"EXPERTS" WHO GET US INTO LOTS OF TROUBLE IN MANY DIFFERENT ARENAS 
(TAKE A LOOK AT JAPAN NOW).  WHY WOULD WE FOR ANY REASON AT ALL LEAVE 
OUR PRECIOUS VOTES TO A SYSTEM THAT CAN ONLY BE UNDERSTAND BY A TEENY 
CADRE OF "EXPERTS."  WHAT POSSIBLE GAIN DO WE THE PEOPLE HAVE FROM 
THIS?  IT GIVES LOTS OF MONEY TO THE EXPERTS AND KEEPS VOTING A 
MYSTERY FOR THE REST OF US.  NOT DEMOCRATIC IN ANY SENSE


>I am aware that in some countries "people who can read and count", as
>I am aware that even in "first world" countries functional
>analphabetism significantly lowers the real numbers of those who can
>read and count. Still, "read and count" is an immensely lower barrier
>to verifying frauds than computer skills and time to really control
>that there aren't bugs in the voting machines.


YES BEAUTIFULLY STATED.


>With respect to these specific objections to paper ballots:
>
>On Thu, Apr 07, 2011 05:25:23 AM +0530, Pranesh Prakash
>(pranesh at cis-india.org) wrote:
>
> > How would keeping paper ballots help against things like:
> > * officials saying they are out of ballot paper, turning back
> > voters, and then stuffing ballot boxes themselves
>
>what about "officials saying the voting machines are broken, turning
>back voters etc..."? The only difference is that only a real computer
>expert can check if this second claim is bogus. Ditto for these cases:


YES, ONCE WE  GET RID OF THE EXPERTS AND THE INSIDE OFFICIALS WHO CAN 
AND HAVE AND WILL RIG ELECTIONS, IT IS PRETTY EASY FOR WE THE PEOPLE 
TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE ENOUGH PAPER BALLOTS TO GO AROUND. WHAT 
POSSIBLE EXCUSE COULD THESE OFFICIALS USE FOR NOT HAVING ENOUGH PAPER 
BALLOTS WHEN SO MANY EYES OF THE PEOPLE WOULD BE WATCHING BEFORE THE 
ELECTIONS, AS WELL AS DURING AND AFTER.

  DO  YOU REMEMBER THE TEN HOUR LINES IN OHIO IN 2004 THAT BLACKWELL 
CAUSED BY LIMITING THE NUMBER OF MACHINES AND ESPECIALLY IN LOW 
INCOME AND STUDENT NEIGHBORHOODS


> > * capturing of voting booths by armed thugs, and stuffing ballot boxes
> > * stuffing of ballot boxes after voting has ended
> > * fraud occurring during counting


THAT IS SIMPLY TOTALLY WRONG. THE FRAUD DURING COUNTING IS HIDDEN 
BECAUSE NO ONE CAN SEE INSIDE THE COMPUTER;. FURTHERMORE, AS YOU MUST 
WELL KNOW, DEAR  PRANESH, COMPUTER GEEKS CAN AND HAVE TAMPERED WITH 
THE COMPUTER PROGRAMS AND NOT LEAVE A TRACE, SO THE FRAUD IS 
HAPPENING INSIDE THE MACHINES AND NO ONE CAN SEE IT

WITH SO MANY EYES AT THE POLLS AFTER THE ELECTION, THERE CAN BE 
NO  EASY STUFFING OF BALLOT BOXES, LIKE DALEY USED TO DO WAY BACK 
WHEN IN CHICAGO

FURTHERMORE, BALLOT BOXES NEED TO BE OF CLEAR PLASTIC AND WITH 
A  LOCK AND ALWAYS IN FULL VIEW OF THE PUBLIC  BEFORE DURING AND 
AFTER THE ELECTION.   IN THE PAST THERE ARE SOME WONDERFUL WOODEN AND 
GLASS BALLOT BOXES THAT HAVE  BEEN AND CONTINUE TO BE USED IN HCPB 
ELECTIONS, BUT I WON'T GO INTO HERE. YOU CAN READ ABOUT THESE IN MY 
ARTICLE ON :"ON- SITE OBSERVATIONS OF THE HAND-COUNTING OF PAPER 
BALLOTS ....."AS WELL AS READ ABOUT HOW SEVERAL JURISDICTIONS USE 
HCPB SUCCESSFULLY. LOOK ESPECIALLY AT ACTON, ME , WHERE THEY COUNT 
THE BALLOTS TWICE ON ELECTION 
NIGHT. 
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_sheila_p_070718_on_site_observations.htm 


ON OUR WEB SITE, HTTP://WWW.HANDCOUNTEDPAPERBALLOTS.ORG  ON THE 
ARTICLES PAGE FOR HAND-COUNTING THERE IS MUCH INFO. ALSO SEE ATICLES 
PAGE ABOUT HACKING THE MACHINES

FURTHERMORE, A CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF THE BALLOTS, ALTHOUGH IMPORTANT, 
IS LESS NECESSARY AND IMPORTANT WHEN THE BALLOTS ARE TO BE COUNTED AT 
THE PRECINCT LEVEL IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ELECTION AND RESULTS POSTED 
IN WINDOWS OF PRECINCT ON ELECTION NIGHT.


>all of them are an electronic equivalent. The only difference I can
>see between their "paper" and the "electronic" problem is that the
>electronic version is immensely easier to carry out without average
>citizens noticing it. With respect to "fraud occurring during manual
>paper counting": here in Italy counting is manual and is done in EACH
>booth by a commission made of members of ALL parties.


YES, HAND-COUNTING TO BE DONE BY TEAMS OF OPPOSING PARTIES ON THE 
BALLOT, HAND-COUNTING OBSERVED BY THE PUBLIC, THE HAND COUNTING TO BE 
VIDEOGRAPHED, AND RESULTS POSTED AT THE PRECINCT LEVEL THE NIGHT OF 
THE ELECTION, IN THE WINDOW SO ALL CAN SEE. AND VOTES HAND-COUNTED TWICE.

YES, MARCO SAID IT ABOVE AND I SAID IT EARLIER, WE THE PEOPLE CANNOT 
SEE THE FRAUD AND RIGGING AND HACKING DONE BY THE 
COMPUTER  GEEKS/EXPERTS INSIDE THE BLACK BOXES WE CALL VOTING 
MACHINES. HOW COULD SUCH A SYSTEM POSSIBLY BE OKAY?

YES, AS I SAID IN AN EARLIER EMAIL, HERE THE RIGGING OF THE MACHINES 
IS CALLED WHOLESALE, WHILE THE RIGGING WITH HCPB IS RETAIL


>Just because they count signs on paper, they don't need special
>skills, every citizen can do that. And just because they must all
>count together, the probability that fraud happens on a scale large
>enough to have an actual effect nationwide, ie to be worth doing, is
>really small.

YES, TRAINING CAN BE EASILY DONE, AND MANY EYES ON THE BALLOTS, NOT 
EXPERTS WITH THEIR SPECIAL TALENTS, GIFTS AND YEARS OF 
TRAINING.  AND, THE MONEY GETS KEPT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL - PAY THE 
COUNTERS. NOT GAZILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THOSE WHO OWN OUR DEMOCRACY 
WITH THEIR E-VOTING MACHINES. NOT GAZILLIONS OF $$$$ FIRST TO BUY 
THEN TO MAINTAIN STORE ,UPGRADE THE MACHINES. THESE MACHINES ARE 
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION..


> > * collusion in voters' lists
>
>this happens or not regardless of how they actually vote, why is it
>present?


THIS IS A PROBLEM AND NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN ALL VOTING 
SYSTEMS.  HOWEVER, THE  E-BOOKS USED WITH THE MACHINES, AGAIN KEEP 
EVERYTHING SECRET, NOT PUBLIC AND IS A LONGER TOPIC OF DISCUSSION


> > * confusing ballot designs
>
>this depends on voting rules, so I pass on this


THIS IS DONE INTENTIONALLY, IN MY OPINION, AND  CAN EASILY 
BE  STOPPPED. MUCH EASIER TO STOP THIS THAN THE SECRET RIGGING INSIDE 
THE MACHINES. HAVE A BOARD OF CITIZENS OVERLOOKING BALLOT DESIGN

> > * high cost of printing ballot paper (which can be sizeable in a
> > country the size of India), cost of remuneration for counting staff

IF DEMOCRACY IS NOT WORTH SPENDING $$$ ON , WHAT IS?  A SMALL PRICE 
TO PAY.  THE  HACKABILITY AND RIGGABILITY OF THE E-VOTING MACHINES IS 
A MUCH HIGHER PRICE - NO DEMOCRACY/ SEE MY STATEMENT ABOVE ABOUT 
MONEY FOR PAYING COUNTERS VS MONEY FOR MACHINES.  THESE COSTS HAVE 
BEEN COMPARED AND THE HCPB IS MUCH MUCH MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE AND ALSO 
KEEPS THE MONEY IN THE COMMUNITY.

>
>do you have an estimate of the cost difference for India?


THE EXCUSE OF TOO MANY PEOPLE DOES NOT WORK.  WHAT CAN BE MORE 
IMPORTANT THAN DEMOCRACY?. SAME FOR TOO MUCH MONEY, WHICH IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE

> > The point is not simply that fraud with paper ballots "are
> > detectable", since fraud electronic voting with paper audit trail
> > are just as detectable

FRAUD WITH ELECTRONIC VOTING IS NOT VISIBLE AT ALL, HOW CAN YOU SAY 
THAT?   EVERYTHING IS HIDDEN IN THE BLACK BOX. HERE IN US, GORE WON 
IN 2000 , KERRY IN 2004 AND BUSH IN WHITE HOUSE. IN 2002 IN GA AN 
"UPSET" VICTORY BY SAXBY CHAMBLISS OVER MAX CLELAND WAS NOT VISIBLE


>By who? If they aren't "just as detectable", with the same skills and
>the same degree of trust as looking at sheets of paper, I'd tend to
>stick to the first objection I explained.
>
> > I don't see why we need to have a "truth" that is universally valid


THIS STATEMENT IS NOT HELPFUL OR TRUE. IF ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES 
ARE CAPABLE OF RIGGING ELECTIONS, AND THEY ARE,  THAT IS A UNIVERSAL 
TRUTH AND MUST BE ACCEPTED AS SUCH  EVERYWHERE.   THE PEOPLE WANT THE 
CANDIDATES THEY VOTE FOR TO BE IN OFFICE. THAT IS THE CORNERSTONE, 
THE BEDROCK OF DEMOCRACY IN ALL COUNTRIES THE WORLD OVER.



>I agree. Personally, I am trying to understand which parts of the
>discourse are always valid and which aren't.


Have a day filled with good.

Sheila





>           Regards,
>           Marco Fioretti
>--
>Online Course for Digital Citizens, because your rights depend on
>how software is used *around* you:  http://mfioretti.com/node/129
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Sheila Parks, Ed.D.
Founder
Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots
Belmont, MA 02478
617-932-1424
DEMOCRACY IN OUR HANDS
www.handcountedpaperballots.org
sheila at handcountedpaperballots.org




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