Computers in Election Vigils - take two

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Mon Oct 12 14:29:19 CDT 2015

> On Oct 12, 2015, at 2:51 PM, Jecel Assumpcao Jr. <jecel at> wrote:
> Paul Koning wrote on Sat, 10 Oct 2015 11:44:58 -0400:
> ...
>> The real problem is that you had no way to be sure, no way to verify,
>> that the machine was recording your vote and would accurately report
>> it later.  It might just as easily report numbers that someone had told
>> it to report, not connected to any reality.  How would you know?  If
>> anyone were to question this, how would you prove that the count is
>> honest?
> This issue was raised, so the third time these machines were used in a
> national election there was a pilot with modified machines that printed
> their results so that the voter could see (but not touch) and then
> dropped the paper version into an urn. Observers from all the different
> parties could use the paper trail to verify the numbers presented
> electronically by the machines. After that single trial, TSE declared
> that the result was that a paper trail was proved to be unnecessary and
> caused delays and added expense, so those machines were never seen again
> and elections in Brazil have been paper free ever since.

Cute.  So that demonstrates that the results of that one election are accurate, but it tells you nothing about the later ones.  And the claim that the paper is "unnecessary" shows either ignorance, or dishonest intent, on the part of the person making that claim.  After all, you have no way to know whether the later machines are still honest, just because the ones used in that one election were.


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