What Happens Before You Mail It?

The No-Vote-By-Mail blog cites me again, and in so doing points me to a a note by King County in Washington about how they are ensuring that vote-by-mail preserves ballot secrecy.

Okay, let’s say I believe everything they say. The ballot is double-enveloped, there are no traces of who the voter is on the ballot, there is no corruption of how the ballots are handed out so that no one records the association of ballot ID with voter, etc… Let’s say all that is true.

How does King County claim to control what happens before the voter mails her ballot? How can we be sure no one was telling her how to vote, threatening her one way or another as she filled out her “secret ballot” at home? How can we even be sure who mailed the ballot?

Without some really fancy crypto tricks, Vote by Mail is inherently coercible. To claim otherwise is just denial of basic facts.

3 thoughts on “What Happens Before You Mail It?

  1. Yes, how indeed? It is amazing to me that people are so blind to the issues of the secret ballot. In Washington the common person is not only willing to give up the secret ballot, but literally cites, “Convenience” almost 100% of the time for the reason.

    “Why do you like Vote-By Mail?”

    “Because it’s so convenient.”

    “Have you thought about the lack of security, secrecy, accuracy, or public ownership of the voting system under a new Vote-By Mail system?”

    “No.”

    The Vote By Mail Project is funding outreach and lobbyists somehow accross the country, to promote Vote-By Mail as the solution to the “Touchscreen Voting Problem”. And in so doing are promoting the death of the secret ballot nationally.

    As to your question, how can the council say they maintain the secret ballot? It’s as easy as a press release. In person, they just don’t respond. Or act like you, as the concerned citizen, are basically crazy.

  2. Without some really fancy crypto tricks, Vote by Mail is inherently coercible. To claim otherwise is just denial of basic facts.

    Fancy crypto techniques? Like what? Why not just allow people to mail in multiple ballots and only count the last one?

  3. then it’s fairly easy for someone to override your vote if they know your voter ID… unless you get into fancy crypto🙂

    There’s also a question of variable latency of the postal service, but that’s more minor.

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