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Should ballot counting software be open source?


vailixi
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  1. 1. Should ballot counting software be open source

    • Yes
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    • Who cares?
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I think you're asking the wrong question.

The big question on my mind with regards to this is why do we need voting machines in the first place?

So far the only remotely valid reason I could find is that news outlets can get a decent number to run with much, much sooner. Every other reason I've been provided with thus far boils down to 'because we can'.

They're trying to get electronic voting like this going here in .NL and they actually got some hackers and privacy people involved (I personally know a few of them) to ensure things are on the up-and-up. The process they decided upon is that people pick a candidate from a screen, a paper ballot is then printed and the ballot is thus counted digitally. As a voter you're then expected to verify the printed ballot as containing your actual vote which you then drop in the old-skool voting box. The digital number is provided once the voting office closes at which point the manual counting still happens and this manually counted number will be the official number, trumping the digital one.

What this means is that the cost savings relative to a non-digital vote is a negative - it costs more because you need to purchase a whole stack of machines which you will use ONLY for voting (which, at least in my country, isn't a very common thing to do. Once or twice a year tops). Also, during each election you need a stack of techs on stand-by to fix the devices when they break or get broken which is going to be a recurring cost.

Given these rather considerable additional costs, where's the benefit? Ease of use? What's easier that taking a pencil and coloring in the box next to the name of someone you think should win? If your voting ballot is so complex it confuses people, FIX THE FUCKING BALLOT ITSELF.

Edited by cooper
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I think you're asking the wrong question.

The big question on my mind with regards to this is why do we need voting machines in the first place?

So far the only remotely valid reason I could find is that news outlets can get a decent number to run with much, much sooner. Every other reason I've been provided with thus far boils down to 'because we can'.

They're trying to get electronic voting like this going here in .NL and they actually got some hackers and privacy people involved (I personally know a few of them) to ensure things are on the up-and-up. The process they decided upon is that people pick a candidate from a screen, a paper ballot is then printed and the ballot is thus counted digitally. As a voter you're then expected to verify the printed ballot as containing your actual vote which you then drop in the old-skool voting box. The digital number is provided once the voting office closes at which point the manual counting still happens and this manually counted number will be the official number, trumping the digital one.

What this means is that the cost savings relative to a non-digital vote is a negative - it costs more because you need to purchase a whole stack of machines which you will use ONLY for voting (which, at least in my country, isn't a very common thing to do. Once or twice a year tops). Also, during each election you need a stack of techs on stand-by to fix the devices when they break or get broken which is going to be a recurring cost.

Given these rather considerable additional costs, where's the benefit? Ease of use? What's easier that taking a pencil and coloring in the box next to the name of someone you think should win? If your voting ballot is so complex it confuses people, FIX THE FUCKING BALLOT ITSELF.

What you are saying is valid. Doing away with the machines altogether would be great.

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