Thursday, October 1, 2009

Designing Systems that Gain Public Trust: Simplicity, Transparency, and Security in e-Voting Systems

In this presentation, Kathy S Faggiani (Milwaukee School of Engineering) posed a massively important question to her audience: how confidant are you that your vote is counted?

If you are very confidant, check out

According to the presenter, 3%-5% of optically scanned voting sheets are counted wrong. To this cynic, this number seems plausible--constitutionally terrifying, but plausible.

Voting is what separates a democracy from a dictatorship. Constitutionally mandated privacy and accuracy affect e-voting software development in fascinating ways.

Good to know: according to the presenter, the most important legal litmus test for vote-counting accuracy is whether the vote was counted as the voted intended. This is different from whatever the machine thought the voter wanted, which is what it actually does count.

This presentation had a narrative (see Valerie's post for more on that), the data was inviting, and the conclusions were incisive.

Best quote:
"Those who say it can't be done are often interrupted by people who are doing it"

Inspirational Quote:

The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still,—and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world. The plain was there, under one’s feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud. Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it. Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. The landscape one longed for when one was away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!--Willa Cather

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