Sunday, February 27, 2005

open-source voting software

Is it better if you can inspect the code for voting machines?

Can you solve the problem of providing that the code you inspected is actually running on the machine on election day?

Senators Clinton and Kerry Submit Open Voting Bill

DailyKos is reporting that a group of senators and representatives including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Tubbs Jones, have proposed an 'open-source' voting bill. This bill (The Count Every Vote Act of 2005 [PDF]) corrects many of the problems in the last election. Notably, it requires paper receipts, and that the source and object code of all electronic voting machines to be open and readable by the public.

Slashdot comments also point out that "open code inspection" is quite different from "open source development".

I was wondering if you had an opinion on the BC-STV referendum. A lot of Pro-BC-STV advocates seem fine with having computers count their ballots. BC-STV is a complex system so either it will take days to count ballots by hand or computers will have to be introduced. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Also I have not heard any discussions of open Source software being used to implement BC-STV.

Thank you.
I think there are two main points:
1) Complicated voting systems obscure the connection between your vote and who actually gets elected.
2) Computer voting systems obscure the connection between your vote and the counting of your vote.

Combined together, I think these are a mess. FPTP counted by hand is my preference.
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