InetVote: Ballot

James F. Carter, UCLA-Mathnet, 2004-10-10

State of California
County of Sasquatch
Official Ballot -- 2004-11-02

Sample ballots will be checked for correctness but will not be counted. The Certificate Signing Request indicates whether this will be a sample ballot. View the script that generated it (typically A Ballot Ticket of SAMPLE indiates a sample ballot.

Certificate Signing Request for Ballot Ticket
Its filename is typically vote.csr, unless you renamed it.

Office #1: President of the United States

Vote for one:
Wil E. Coyote (Democratic)
Bonzo the Chimp (Republican)
Kermit the Frog (Green)
Write-In Candidate

Office #2: Board of Supervisors, Sasquatch County

Vote for three:
Michael Moore
Harrison Ford
Charlton Heston
Mel Brooks
Write-In Candidate

Question #50: Proposition A

Shall the Sasquatch County Unified School District incur fifteen million dollars of bonded indebtedness to build a new high school in Eastern Sasquatch County?

Question #51: Proposition B

Shall the InetVote system be used exclusively for future elections in Sasquatch County?

Check this box to allow offices or propositions for which you refused to make a choice.

End of Ballot

Please check your ballot to make sure you have voted as you intended. Be sure that the Certificate Signing Request for your Ballot Ticket has been included as the first item.

When you submit your ballot, the Election Board will return (all in one file) a copy of your ballot, your Ballot Ticket, your Ballot Certificate, and a signature over all of these as a unit. You can use this file to prove how you voted, if your ballot is fraudulently repudiated. Save it with your other voting-related files and keep it until the election's result is finally certified.

(to start over)
Next Step

Once you have saved your signed ballot copy, your voting is finished. However, you can audit your ballot and the election as a whole on this page. You will need your Ballot Ticket number. You can find it in your signed ballot copy, typically named ballot.sig, or in your ballot script, typically named

How to Cheat

Manually counted ballots have a number of problem exposures. First, counting a large number of physical ballots is not easy. In a manual tally or recount it is hard for the Election Board workers to keep concentration for so many ballots. The problems of punched card ballots experienced in Florida in 2000 are world-famous. This is why Election Boards around the country and world are moving to various computerized systems.

Computerized systems, including InetVote, have their own problems. First, the machine that the voter uses may crash at an inopportune time, leaving the system in the state that it has issued a Ballot Ticket, or whatever equivalent in other systems, but the voter has lost it. With InetVote the voter is urged to make a copy of the Ballot Ticket script on removeable media, as soon as he gets it. In the polling place, printed paper can make an effective backup, to be scanned in by the Election Board workers in case of disaster.

If central servers die, or their communication is cut off by stupidity or by terrorist activity, that could bring the election to a standstill. This demo is written around a single central server; however, for production one can (and probably should) easily have several complete and well-separated copies of the Registrar of Voter's server and the Election Board's server, using replicated database technology. Also, in a big county you may need several servers just to handle the load.

Then, if a ballot was cast, will it be counted? In third-world countries there are often rumors that ballots from precincts with high support for an opposition candidate sometimes disappear. There is also the practice of counting ballots that do not exist.

With InetVote, the voter receives and is supposed to save the signed copy of his ballot, and he can audit the set of ballots at any time, making sure that his is in the set and is unaltered. If his ballot becomes missing, he can insist that his copy be put back; by the various signatures on the ballot copy he can prove that he personally cast the ballot and that the Election Board accepted it. A corrupt Election Board might be tempted to insert large numbers of fake ballots; however, they need a Ballot Ticket Certificate, signed by the Regisrar of Voters, for each one, and corrupting both agencies is a lot harder and more vulnerable to discovery than corrupting just one. In addition, the Registrar of Voters records exactly which people voted. The count of actual voters should be equal to or just slightly greater than the number of ballots cast, never less. And if the Registrar of Voters corruptly issues a Ballot Ticket in the name of a registered voter who is actually not voting, and that person later audits his record, the fraud will be revealed. Thus stuffing the ballot box is much harder to pull off with InetVote, compared to the manual system.