End-to-end election in Tacoma Park

Check Dan Wallach’s post: Tacoma Park: first ever e2e binding election (from ACCURATE) which describes an actual real-world election using a so-called “end-to-end” vote casting and counting technology.

This is a fascinating scenario: allowing voters to actually verify, by true mathematical proof, that their vote actually got included in the total. This is unique and seems very welcome and a great trust-enhancer in fair elections.

But the mathematics behind it are far over the head of 99.99999% of the voters. So if it adds trust and confidence, why does it? And does it actually have to work in order to add trust and confidence?

For example, does it matter that my airline seat can double as a flotation device, and that it will actually work, or does it give me confidence no matter what?

Or, on the other hand, does it remind me that the plane actually may crash, and hence reduce my trust and confidence? On the third hand, the mathematics (and physics, and aerodynamics) that keep the plane aloft, are also way over the most of our heads.

One more worthwhile factoid:  in the Tacoma Park election, the end-to-end cryptography are complemented by vanilla paper ballots which offer a familiar and understood safety valve:

From the “Takoma Park: first ever e2e binding election” post:

“It’s important to note that, for this particular election technology, the votes are being cast on traditional paper ballots that could always be counted, recounted, or otherwise inspected manually.

That’s not strictly necessary for election security — our own VoteBox system works more like a paperless electronic voting system and has the same security guarantees as Scantegrity — but it’s essential when rolling out a new technology where a real election with real politicians’ careers is at stake. We need to know that real elections can be really verified, and we need a fallback position if the crypto somehow goes wrong. ” (from: Tacoma Park: first ever e2e binding election)

Exciting stuff!

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