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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

E-Voting Made Simple

The CEO of Diebold has resigned, leaving the job of rigging elections for God to his politically fresh successors.

There sure is a lot of fuss over the right way to implement e-voting, most of which involve bags of paper ballots being transfered under lock and key as the only way to double-check the system, and none of which sound particularly secure to me. Here's my simple proposal (snipped from my comment to slashdot):

The computer prints the ballot including a unique identifier, which is your receipt.

Two lists are published on the web: a list of the names of people who voted, and a list of identifiers and what votes they placed.

Anyone can verify the two lists are the same size.
Anyone can examine the list for deceased people or other suspicious populations of voters.
Anyone can tally the votes themselves.
And anyone who voted can compare their receipt against the website and verify their vote is properly tallied.

Cheap, simple, easy, and I'd think pretty hard to hack.


If you find enough bogus voters to potentially change the results of the election, you hold it again. This would be very expensive and very bad, but it's better than the vote being hacked. And as long as the worst case outcome is the election is held again, there's little incentive to hack the vote.

This system could also be extended to allowing people to vote online, which would greatly reduce the cost. Instead of a printed receipt, you would get a digitally-signed e-receipt.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com