FC: E-voting paper analyzes "usability" problems of current systems

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Tue Jun 18 2002 - 07:51:17 PDT

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    Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 04:00:00 -0400 (EDT)
    To: <declanat_private>
    From: "Vincent J. Lipsio" <VJLat_private>
    Subject: Foe of Electronic Voting on July 11 in Orlando
    At the suggestion of a regular subscriber to Politech to
    whom I had sent the below message, I'm forwarding to you.
    Vince Lipsio
    Forwarded below is an email from Dr. Rebecca Mercuri whose
    PhD dissertation contained a proof that an electronic voting
    system can be either secure (tamper proof) or anonymous
    (as in secret ballot), but NOT BOTH, "The requirement for
    ballot privacy creates an unresolvable conflict with the
    use of audit trails in providing security assurance".
    She is a brilliant woman and I'd urge anyone concerned with
    what she calls "scalabe ballot fraud" to attend her presentation
    if feasable, but at to visit her website:
    "I am adamantly opposed to the use of fully electronic or
    Internet-based systems for use in anonymous balloting and
    vote tabulation applications.  The reasons for my opposition
    are manyfold, and are expressed in my writings as well as
    those of other well-respected computer security experts.
    At the present time, it is my strong recommendation that
    all election officials REFRAIN from procuring ANY system
    that does not provide an indisputable paper ballot. A
    detailed explanation, along with my recommendation for
    appropriately configured voting equipment, is provided in
    the full text of this statement, available [on the website]."
    Also, she is a Democrat and a committeewoman (in New Jersey).
    In 2000, upon request of the Democratic Recount Committee,
    she provided a sworn affidavit regarding the necessity of a
    hand recount in the disputed Florida precincts.
    Type to you later,
    ------------   Begin Forwarded Message   ------------
    Subject: Voting Usability
    Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 00:16:05 +0000
    Rebecca Mercuri will be presenting an invited paper entitled "Humanizing
    Voting Interfaces" at the Usability Professionals Association
    conference,Orlando Florida, Thursday July 11, 10:30-Noon.
    Information about her talk can be found at:
    and registration information for the conference is available at:
    This paper/presentation is a bit different from my usual fare, as it
    focuses on usability issues rather than technology.  The paper will
    be posted on the www.notablesoftware.com/evote.html website after
    July 11.  Readers should find the reference list also of interest
    (most of the citations can be found on the web).
    NotableVoting subscribers may also want to follow the progress of
    the House (H.R.3295) and Senate (S. 565) voting rights acts bills.
    These have both been approved and now go to committee to try to get
    conformity between the two pieces of legislation.  It is unclear how
    long that process will take.  Although the bills mention auditability
    of voting systems, they are both weak in that they allow the voting
    device to produce its own audit trail (aka Enron?). Contact your
    congresspeople and let them know what you think about that.
    Information can be found on both bills via the government websites.
    Litigation is ongoing in Florida (where new Sequoia machines managed
    to not record 3% of the votes in a runoff election that had only
    two candidates) and California (where the Central District Court
    Western Division will be ruling on the constitutionality of self-
    auditing voting systems).  Stay tuned for further developments.
    Rebecca Mercuri.
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
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