[ExI] elections again: was RE: left on iran

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Jun 26 19:44:33 UTC 2009

> ...On Behalf Of spike
> OK I am declaring myself a celebrity and now this fair and 
> verifiable election thing is my cause... we discussed it in the 
> past, but I have some new ideas... spike

OK here's the idea.  We create a number of decoy ballots, marked in every
possible way.  Then if the voter is being bribed or coerced, she can
reference one of the many decoys, which will allow her to vote any way she
sees fit, and still collect the bribes and not be beaten to death.

This is how it works.  Assume a ballot with three races, Asshat vs Blather,
Carbunkle vs Dingleberry and Egregius vs Fukov.  Her husband commands her to
vote Blather, Dingleberry and Fukov, otherwise he will beat her to death and
use the alibi that she went outdoors without her veil.  The neighbor offers
her ten rials to vote Asshat, Dingleberry and Fukov, but she in her heart
wishes to vote for Asshat, Carbunkle and Egregius.

In this simple example, there are eight possible ballots, 2^3, but the
notion will scale.  So now the election workers generate some arbitrary
number of decoy ballots for each of the of the eight possibilities.  A
thousand of each should be plenty to allow multiple vote-sellers to hide in
the weeds.  These decoys all go on the spreadsheet.  Each of the ballots
(and the decoys) will be identified by a two hundred digit composite number
which is the product of two one-hundred digit primes.  

The voter goes to the polling place, types into a computer the husband's
choice, gets a public code and a private code (100 digit numbers) for that
combination.  She types in the neighbor's choice and gets a public and a
private codes for that combination.  Then she types in her own choice, gets
the codes, prints out that ballot which contains no human-readable, only
machine-readable bar codes, and puts that one in the box.  When she gets
home she gives the two one-hundred digit codes for the husband's choice to
her husband, he multiplies the two numbers to get the 200 digit lookup code
and sees Blather, Dingleberry and Fukov, rewards his bride by not beating
her to death.  The voter gives her neighbor the two codes for his choice,
gets her ten rials.  At her leisure, when her husband and neighbor are off
slaying infidels, she multiplies her real codes from the ballot that
actually went into the box, enters the 200 digit number and verifies that
her real vote, Asshat, Carbunkle and Egregius, is in the database.

The election officials subtract the number of initial decoys from each
candidate's total, which in the above example would be 4000 from each.  The
government could not readily track any given ballot to any given voter, for
their archived ballots would only have the 200 digit codes, which are
extremely difficult to factor down into the two keys, but the keys are
easily multiplied to get the 200 digit code.  This would allow the
government and the voters to verify each other.  

This technique would allow the government to know the outcome of any given
precinct, but the goverment already has this information anyway.  It
disallows the government from tracking any particular ballot to any
particular voter, but it can figure out what any given hundred or so did.  

This polling technology would be easy to do, would not rely on any costly
technology, would maintain voter privacy while effectively defeating
vote-buying or vote coersion, and would let every voter verify that her own
vote counted.  It would reveal when there were more votes than voters in a
precinct.  (I find it laughable that the Iranians found at least fifty such
precincts, but are actually using that information to show that large scale
cheating did NOT occur, for if it had, ALL the precincts would have more
votes than voters.  Mohaaaam what a country.)

All that being said, I pretty much consider Iran beyond hope of redemption,
but the US can still do this in time for the 2010 elections.  They must do
so, for I suspect both sides will have trouble having confidence in the
outcomes of that election, for both sides of the political spectrum will
likely cheat, making it unclear who won.  The consequences are enormous.



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