How do you check your vote?
It’s a simple question with a simple disturbing answer.
You cannot check your vote!
And when I say “you” I mean you. I don’t mean the system, the authorities, electoral officials, foreign auditors, or any third party. I mean you – just you.
There isn’t an electoral system on Earth that allows voters to check their votes. Americans cannot check their votes. Canadians cannot check their votes. Germans cannot check their votes. Indians cannot check their votes. The same holds for the British, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Australians, the French, and the Danes. Everywhere people cast ballots they are denied the means to personally check them. Amazingly, billions of people all over the world go through the motions of voting without demanding a rigorous system to check their votes and assess the integrity of their elections.
Well this is planet moron!
“Oh, come on,” cried Karen. “Surely you can trust law-abiding and well-ordered electoral systems to properly count ballots? And, aren’t you undermining the public’s confidence in the democratic process by demanding ways to verify votes? Are you a crypto-fascist? An Asian supremacist? A wife beater? Do you want the terrorists to win? Do you eat black puppies?”
Let’s all calm down and look at the “checking your vote problem” with Informed Naked Ape Protocol (iNap) in mind. When you cast your vote you are forced to trust the electoral system. Informed Naked Ape Protocol has much to say about trust.
iNap #9: If you don’t control it you cannot trust it.
I don’t control the electoral system in the United States. I didn’t control it in Canada either. If you don’t personally and absolutely control a thing you can never trust it. I’ve voted in American and Canadian electoral systems and trusted neither because:
iNap #2: Trust is for imbeciles.
“Oh, John you’re so negative, so cynical, so filled with bitterness.”
It gets worse.
iNap #4: Assume corruption.
It’s wise to assume that any system you deal with is corrupt. Corruption is the default state. Things are either innocently or intentionally fucked up until there are deep, open, and relentlessly verified scientific arguments to the contrary.
iNap #7: Practice relentless verification.
iNap #10: Only scientific and mathematical arguments are admissible.
How can I analyze the integrity of Idaho’s electoral system? I would need unfettered access to state voter registrations, paper ballots, voting machine memories, and electoral officials. I would have to personally inspect every component of the entire system to pass judgment. I lack such access and so do you. Don’t pretend otherwise. You cannot verify the integrity of your electoral system. Once again you are forced to trust and as I’ve said before and will repeat until my dying day:
iNap #2: Trust is for imbeciles.
It’s time to stop believing in electoral systems because that is precisely what we are doing. We believe our systems are sound yet tolerate their inability to meet basic needs like personal vote checking. Would you believe your money was safe in bank that didn’t let you check account balances? Well imbeciles, that’s what you’re doing when you vote! Belief in anything is a giant red flag because:
iNap #3: “Belief” is a bullshit word.
All modern voting systems are broken. Without a sound open source mathematically rigorous means of checking personal votes and verifying vote aggregates elections are nothing more than cynical and insulting public relations spectacles “full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.”
Yes, Karen, all our electoral systems are broken but they don’t have to be. It’s entirely possible, indeed technically trivial, to create voting systems that:
- Count only registered votes.
- Permit voters to check their votes.
- Allow full secure public vote aggregation verification.
- Satisfy the highest standards of public disclosure and scrutiny.
iNap #6: Demand full analytic disclosure.
In the next few posts, I will outline such a system. We know how to do this; the creators of block-chains and public-key cryptography have already done all the hard work. We could have much better electoral systems up and running in months. Major obstacles are not technical; they are entirely political.