[Cryptography] Questions about crypto that lay people want to understand

Arnold Reinhold agr at me.com
Fri Dec 25 09:12:33 EST 2015

> On Dec 24, 2015, at 11:32 PM, dan at geer.org wrote:
> Point of information: I had a Federal prosecutor tell me that the
> overwhelming majority of voting fraud cases taken all the way to
> conviction involve absentee ballots.
> As voting by mail ~= 100% absentee ballots, ...
> --dan

It may just be that prosecution of voter fraud in absentee ballot situations is easier to prove because there is more of a paper trail. One has to fill our a form requesting an absentee ballot, usually signing under penalty of perjury, and give a valid mailing address. 

The in-person system we use here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a paper ballot where the voter fills in ovals that are then scanned electronically as the ballot is fed into the ballot box. Vote totals are readable immediately after the election, but the paper ballots are still available for a manual recount if needed. There are poll checkers from the neighborhood paid for the day by the City’s Elections Commission who check voters in and cross of their name on a voter list. A second team does the same check before the voter can turn in their ballot. This gives two counts that should match the number of ballots in the box at the end of the day. Political parties can have their own poll watchers as well. This seems far superior to computer voting machines that either cannot be audited or produce some kind of cryptographic electronic receipt that few voters will ever check. 

If it ain’t broken...

Arnold Reinhold

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