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chodpaba
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April 25, 2011, 04:36:28 PM
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tomcollins
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April 25, 2011, 04:58:14 PM
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I am not a software engineer, so I don't know exactly all this would be put together, but I have been musing about how a Bitcoin-like system could solve the problems of electronic voting including verification and non-reproducibility.

One way I could see it happening is to have a client for voting on and browsing ballots, and a client for issuing ballots and maintaining the block chain. A ballot issuer would have to register voters through an independent verification process, and would issue a certain number of votes (coins) to each registered voter for the ballot. In the case of public election ballot each voter could be issued a single vote, in the case of a shareholder ballot a number of votes could be issued according to the registered number of voting shares. In the case of caucusing votes could be transferred to a caucus.

Each ballot would have a unique hash for every possible combination of selections on the ballot, so the ballot browser would count up the number of votes spent on each outcome and reconcile the votes on each selection for the ballot. Once a vote is 'spent' it is destroyed. All ballots and their associated votes would be preserved in the block chain in perpetuity...

Problem???

The main problem with electronic voting is that someone could sell their vote or be "forced" to vote with someone over their shoulder.  Are verification and non-reproducibility real problems?  Bitcoin is great when you want to decentralize something.  But why decentralize voting?  Is it that you can't trust the single point?  Perhaps it might solve that issue.
Meni Rosenfeld
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April 25, 2011, 06:15:20 PM
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I'm not an expert on this, but I think secure electronic voting is a solved problem. There is a cryptographic scheme that allows you to verify that your vote was counted without anyone being able to know what you voted. Whether the industry has caught up with academia is of course a different matter.

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Meni Rosenfeld
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April 25, 2011, 07:02:47 PM
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I'm not an expert on this, but I think secure electronic voting is a solved problem. There is a cryptographic scheme that allows you to verify that your vote was counted without anyone being able to know what you voted. Whether the industry has caught up with academia is of course a different matter.

Very interesting. Do you have links?
I saw it in a poster session once, and a quick search revealed this as likely to be the relevant paper.

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ribuck
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April 25, 2011, 07:51:44 PM
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I'm not an expert on this, but I think secure electronic voting is a solved problem...

Very interesting. Do you have links?
Secure electronic voting is a totally solved problem. Here is an open source system that was used on an online forum that I frequented. The committee members were elected using this system:
http://www.physorg.com/news155473407.html
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April 25, 2011, 09:13:25 PM
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To say electronic voting it is a totally solved problem is a stretch...
A "solved problem" and a "good idea" are not the same thing!
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April 26, 2011, 12:34:23 PM
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As far as I know, electronic voting is a very difficult IT problem, pretty much as difficult as mental poker.

I doubt anyone will find a definitive solution here on this forum.
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April 26, 2011, 01:45:56 PM
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As far as I know, electronic voting is a very difficult IT problem, pretty much as difficult as mental poker.

I doubt anyone will find a definitive solution here on this forum.

Yes, at least as difficult as electronic money...


Good point.
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April 26, 2011, 02:53:06 PM
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A new block chain with a limited number of acceptable send and receive addresses (the senders being the voters and the receivers the candidates or proposals being voted on), with each sender address receiving  a fixed amount of "money". To vote you go to an agency (or whatever the places are called) present your documentsand grab a little official read-only USB flashdrive containing a wallet, later at home or a LAN house or whatever you plug it in and "spend" your "money"; in places where there is significant concern that people will be coerced to vote one way or another, thiings could still be done with voting booths and alike, but people would still be instructed to run the client on their machines to help guarantee the security of the poll.

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tomcollins
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April 26, 2011, 05:00:34 PM
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As far as I know, electronic voting is a very difficult IT problem, pretty much as difficult as mental poker.

I doubt anyone will find a definitive solution here on this forum.

Yes, at least as difficult as electronic money...


True.  And that's why BitCoin isn't ready for Joe Sixpack and Grandma Jones yet.
tomcollins
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April 26, 2011, 05:26:01 PM
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There is also another concern.  If something is more secure, but gives the general public the impression it's less secure ("omg, its on everyones computers, hax0rz can change elections!), it's a no go.  The political solution is not always the best solution.
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