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Thread: Open source app for elections

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Open source app for elections

    Considering how many countries in Europe and in the rest of the world suffer from uncertainty concerning the accurancy of the results of their elections, I would like to spread the idea of demanding and making an open source application for them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Squidbilly-Land
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    Ubuntu

    Re: Open source app for elections

    I think Brazil did this and built their own election software that runs on cheap hardware.

    However, simple election voting and counting appear, there are many, many, subtle aspects mandated by each country for how candidates are displayed, where they must be displayed, preventing candidate lists from overflowing the display, and with the ability to output both machine and human readable paper as proof of the vote. It is very complex.

    In the US, there are federal rules, state rules, mandates to support vote audits all while retaining the anonymous nature of the vote. In some areas, the ability to vote a straight party line must be provided. In other areas, it cannot be allowed. Where I live, every ZIP code effectively has a different ballot than any other ZIP code because the districts for cities, counties, schools, House, Senate and State-House and State-Senate aren't the same.

    I live in a corner of 1 voting district. There are two polling locations directly across the street from each other - in different voting districts.

    For me, the easiest answer for all elections is to request a ballot by mail 2 months before the election, fill them out on our kitchen table, then either mail them in or drop them off at our local public library prior to election day. The library is convenient, but not my voting location. Things get complicated here because 1 political party is trying to prevent everyone from voting, while the other party wants everyone and all their relatives around the world to vote in our elections. Additionally, 1 party claims that voting by mail is a recipe for fraud, though only tiny amounts of fraud with mail-in ballots has every been found **anywhere** in the entire country. I think the number of fraud cases nation-wide is less than 500 total - not enough to alter any election outcome.

    Here in Squidbilly-land, we had the 2000 Presidential election votes counted 3 times. The 3rd time was a complete was of money. The 2nd count was legally mandated because the votes were extremely tight. There are a few election fraud causes from 2000 still working through the courts here due to massive lies by the losing person. I look forward to the day when he's in jail and has to pay the $2000 fine per incident ($22M) for attempted vote tampering.

    The voting machines that my state uses are terrible. That's another reason to always use a mail-in ballot. It leaves a clear, paper trail, unlike the voting machines here.

    Realistically, paper ballots are the most secure method of voting. And using a scan-tron machine to read the bubble-vote marks is the best humans have come up with so far. Anything inside a computer can be altered and shouldn't be trusted. Auditing computer software isn't easy and only experts can do it. To be an expert, you have to be involved in the voting software already ... which means you cannot be trusted or independent. Votes need to be auditable by idiots, or better, a room full of 5th graders who can count. Then a year later, a completely different room of 5th graders should be able to perform the exact same count and come up with statistically the same results. Anything else is a failure. Alas, my representatives are too stupid on this topic to make the right choice, even when lead by security experts to the "paper is the answer" result.

    Sigh. Here's a famous XKCD cartoon about voting machines: https://xkcd.com/2030/ "Bury it in the desert."
    Last edited by TheFu; January 20th, 2024 at 03:44 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: Open source app for elections

    There have been many efforts to do this. Election administrators prefer to buy systems from companies that can provide support. I think it makes more sense to try and get companies like Dominion to open their software rather than starting from scratch.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Re: Open source app for elections

    The thing is that in the end we have ended up with closed 'untrustworthy' systems.
    Even if the proprietary systems are good enough and no rigging is involved there is no way to be proven or tested, the losing parties always will keep claiming being cheated, etc.
    In a fuller than nationwide scale the code must become accessible and open, wherever it comes from.
    Nation/state-specific rules might sound complicated to the ear but it's really no big deal anyway ..

  5. #5
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    Dec 2014
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    Re: Open source app for elections

    The post thing you have ia interesting but not available elsewhere ... ��

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