Monday, November 9, 2009

Why Prof. Chaum's Machines Don't Work in California

Maryland tested the new Verifiable Voting System designed by David Chaum and his team. I haven't see logs and comments about that so far, but I believe everything gone fine. Immediately after the news my guess was, why we don't try the system in a biggest contest like, for example California ? With respect to the current test, I believe that a wider range of people may prove a higher reliability, and much more test cases ( I know that it is a pretty new system but I also know that it has been studied for a while) to stress the system.

Since I'm living in US for (2)years, I still don't remember that each state has own laws. Thank to my friend and colleague Sean I finally understood why Scantegrity cannot be used in California.

These are the two main laws issues :
13204. (a) "All distinguishing marks or erasures are forbidden and
make the ballot void."


14287. "No voter shall place any mark upon a ballot that will make
that ballot identifiable."

Here the official voting codes: Voting Machine dir. (Section 13280-13289), Election Code dir. (13200-13220) and some exceptions (Section 13230-13233).

For people that don't know how scantegrity works here a nice graphical summary.

As you see in the figure above, people have to mark the ballot ("Waht Voter Leaves in the Ballot Box") and people could keep a voting proof (A: "What Voter Takes Home").

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