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A Proposal to Restore Integrity and Confidence in Our Electoral System and to Empower Voters



A democratic society must secure its elections against tampering or significant error by election authorities or by private parties. Equally important, the public must be confident of the integrity of elections. Yet all electronic voting systems currently in use are at substantial risk of tampering. A significant section of the public now feel that their votes may not be accurately recorded and/or counted. By these measures, democracy has been severely eroded in our country in recent years.

VoiceVote (Voting Integrity, Confidence and Empowerment) is an easy-to-understand, transparent voting system that addresses both the reality of electoral integrity and public confidence in it. VoiceVote presents all computer programs it uses for public review and verifies that the programs it uses are exactly those that have been approved, providing the highest degree of certainty as to their correctness. All ballots are completely anonymous with nothing to link the ballot to the voter. VoiceVote produces an unalterable electronic record of votes cast and two complete paper trails: one retained by the voting authority in a sealed ballot box and the other in the possession of the voter. The voting authority tags and cryptographically certifies each ballot as it is cast and provides every voter a receipt detailing their choices on the ballot. The voting authority publishes all ballots on the Internet immediately after the election.

This system enables each voter to anonymously check that his or her vote has been correctly recorded and prove any instance of a vote being lost or altered. In this way, VoiceVote empowers voters to directly monitor the integrity of every election. The cryptographic certification also prevents any baseless accusation of fraud and provides a powerful tool for the suppression of vote buying.

The democratic maturity of our nation has grown during its more than two centuries. People increasingly believe that they should have the right to see into government processes. These expectations have given rise to sunshine laws and freedom of information acts. The principle of "one person - one vote" has gradually become more widely accepted and implemented. Failure to correctly count every vote is a grievous violation of this principle.

The election systems we design should meet the challenge of democratic expectations. Giving the voters themselves an independent capacity to guarantee that their votes are counted correctly should be seen as a continuation of the historical process of expanding and reinforcing the democratic content of the electoral system. VoiceVote replaces the "Voters Keep Out" sign on the door of the vote counting room with a "Voters Welcome" sign.