|And, There's Nothing You Or Anyone Can Do About It|
Although the mainstream media has yet to report on the fact that a Spanish based company will be tabulating the Nov. 2012 vote, or at least a significant part of it, those who are aware of the plans are raising serious concerns about the integrity and privacy of the U.S. general election this year.
(1) voters being unable to cast votes, (2) an election result that does not accurately reflect the will of the voters, or (3) disclosure of confidential information, such as the votes cast by a voter. The extent to which these vulnerabilities could actually be exploited in the ODBP is beyond the scope of this op-ed given my lack of system context. Secure handling and audit of the Voter Choice Records may defend against some or all of these vulnerabilities, but these procedures were not available for review.
I've identify three findings of particular significance:
The use of supervised polling stations provides significantly better protection against voter coercion or vote- selling than is present in some other absentee voting systems, such as voting by mail.
Two copies of each vote are stored: one electronically, and another on paper as a Voter Choice Record. This provides redundancy that is not present in existing vote-by-mail systems. If the electronic votes are well-protected, then they can enable audit of the paper records in ways that are not currently possible.
After casting their ballot, each voter is given a receipt that is intended to give voters confidence that their votes were “Counted as Cast”. These receipts do not achieve their stated goal of allowing voters to “independently verify that their ballots have been correctly accounted for.” These receipts might indicate that a vote was received and decrypted by the county (a property not typically provided by current postal voting systems), but they do not provide assurance that the voter’s vote was correctly recorded.
So far there are many questions here but few answers.