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[liberationtech] Egyptian government to introduce e-voting system
mbelinsky at digital-democracy.org
Fri Apr 8 14:15:31 PDT 2011
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"What's next" in Egypt is my biggest concern.How can citizens
really vote and participate in the conversation of where to go from
there, instead of just celebrating the revolution. It could get worse
or better, depending on the actions that are taken now.It's not just
about e-voting but about e-participation
The Google Moderator Egypt 2.0 project is an excited
start http://www.google.com/moderator/#15/e=581e0&t=581e0.40. The problem
is that good ideas are hard to float up in this UI context. Moreover,
there is repetition that isn't cleared up.
Taking this, my team has built this "democracy game" for people to
vote on what the term "democracy" means to them - instead of just
having pundits conjecture about what the Arab street means when they
say democracy. You can see the initial Arabic version here
- - http://bit.ly/democracy_ar or in
English - http://bit.ly/democracy_en .
We're now building this out into a physical voting booth using open
software and hardware, where people can go and vote on actual tangible
projects in their community. The physical space also means that
grandma is also involved, not just the wired younger generation. Plus
it builds a sense of the voting experience.
I'm curious what thoughts are on this type of voting, and the
potential therein. I largely agree with assessments that state
sanctioned e-voting has its problems with intimidation via receipts or
rigging via closed source debacles, and am curious how digital voting
can be applied to harness ideas and stimulate debate if not used for
the ballot itself.
All the best,
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
President & Co-Founder
109 W 27 St, 6 Fl
New York, NY 10001 USA
w. +1-347-688-DDEM 
mbelinsky at digital-democracy.org
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
On 4/7/11 8:10 AM, Sheila Parks wrote:
> 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:
>> 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?
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
>> - 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
> 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
>>> * 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.
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
>> 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 $$$$ FIRST TO BUY
> THEN TO MAINTAIN STORE ,UPGRADE THE MACHINES. THESE MACHINES ARE
> WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION..
>>> * collusion in voters' lists
>> this happens or not regardless of how they actually vote, why is
>> it present?
> THIS IS A PROBLEM AND NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN ALL VOTING SYSTEMS.
> HOWEVER, THE E-BOOKS USED WITH THE MACHINES, AGAIN KEEP
> EVERYTHING SECRET, NOT PUBLIC AND IS A LONGER TOPIC OF DISCUSSION
>>> * confusing ballot designs
>> this depends on voting rules, so I pass on this
> THIS IS DONE INTENTIONALLY, IN MY OPINION, AND CAN EASILY BE
> STOPPPED. MUCH EASIER TO STOP THIS THAN THE SECRET RIGGING INSIDE
> THE MACHINES. HAVE A BOARD OF CITIZENS OVERLOOKING BALLOT DESIGN
>>> * high cost of printing ballot paper (which can be sizeable in
>>> a country the size of India), cost of remuneration for counting
> IF DEMOCRACY IS NOT WORTH SPENDING $$$ 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
>> 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
> 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.
>> Regards, Marco Fioretti -- Online Course for Digital Citizens,
>> because your rights depend on how software is used *around* you:
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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
> _______________________________________________ liberationtech
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