Here's my occasional reminder that for democratic positions is still a very bad idea. Here's the comprehensive explanation: or Here's the local explanation for us in Aotearoa NZ: We need people to stop even thinking this is worth pursuing. Use technology where it's useful: to help engage and educate people so that they are inspired to vote and have an informed position on their preferred candidates.

@lightweight it's more compelling in places that elect too many positions.

But that is better solved by not electing the town dog catcher.

@LovesTha yeah - if the vote is too complicated for a paper ballot, then it's too complicated for a voter.

@lightweight I'm happy with electing someone for both house of federal and state, and a local gov member. A president would be an acceptable 6th.

Any more than that I think is bad.

@lightweight That's dumb. The research is done. The protocols exist. It was all done by the 80's. The reason online voting is a bad idea is rampant industry corruption. Rich fucks are *choosing* not to use the protocols, or the research, and the rest of us getting hoodwinked into letting those few elites run our lives. The voting process is broken, the D&R are in cahoots, and we need more local governance, because you can't hold someone accountable a thousand miles away.

@lightweight It's dumb to say the technology is just "not ready" when instead it's actively being suppressed by literal oppressors. It's a bad idea either way, but we shouldn't act like computers don't work, when the problem is the guy in jackboots standing next to the computer beating you into submission. We need open source, publically verified, zero-knowledge, decentralized voting, on hardware that isn't being guarded by fascists with assault rifles.

@lightweight And honestly the zero-knowledge part isn't as important as they say it is. If said jackboots already have the power to shoot anyone who votes wrong, you're not going to fix things by explaining to them why they should let people vote anonymously.

@cy I disagree with that part... I do think that the secret ballot, so that people can trust that they're voting their conscience, unswayed by external pressures, is crucial. I think that being able to link individuals to their vote can be abused in far more subtle ways than the jackboot approach you describe.

@lightweight Well sure, by buying votes, and firing people for voting wrong. Trouble is with a secret ballot, people can conspire to vote strategically en-masse, without anyone else being the wiser. With a public ballot, strategic voters are countered by other voters voting strategically, whereas with a secret ballot you'd never know it until a certain someone is elected chancellor of Germany.

@cy well, I agree in part with your assertions about what are necessary conditions for online voting... but I'm not sure they're sufficient. I would say that our inability to be sure of what's going on on any computer renders any idea of a computer being legitimately "trustworthy" moot.

@lightweight I think what you're looking for is irreducible complexity. Computers are very complex, so there are more ways to exploit them, even when manufactured in the best of circumstances. In an ideal world, I'd have an open standard for manufacturing and programming a personal voting machine, that could do nothing other than sign a vote with a ring signature. Another issue is access to electricity though.

@cy the fundamental problem with online voting is a human one: to have a sufficiently broad group of (lay) people to scrutineer, the process has to be simple so specialised knowledge isn't required. It's one of the reasons that the German constitution, for example, have banned electronic voting machines (they have paper ballots, which is currently the best secret ballot voting technology we've got).

Drawing an X on the circle next to the name of the person you want to vote for seems to result in elections where the results are known basically immediately (usually the night of the election), whereas any sort of machine seems to end up with questions.

Solving a problem that doesn't really need to be solved, and introducing a lot of problems in the process.

@lightweight What I think is that paper ballots should be used, with no voting machines at all, and if people complain they can't count 250 million votes from every citizen of the USA for instance, tell them that nations are shit and go ask your local city council if you want to be governed. A simple method doesn't matter, when 99.9% of the voters are unable to verify how the vote is counted. Large scale voting is inherently, unavoidably exploitable.

@cy well, it might surprise you that people against like me are not against ballot counting machines, which can substantially speed things up... the reason is that *their counts can be verified by random hand-counts of the paper ballots*. Therein lies the crucial difference.

@lightweight The same could be said of electronic voting, but yes. Random hand-counting can catch irregularities very well, except if you can't be one of the hand-counters, or you don't actually know any of the hand-counters, since they're all living 1000 miles away from you, protected from all scrutiny.

@cy no, that's the point. The same cannot be said for electronic voting, as the layers of abstraction between the voter and their vote are more or less arbitrary, and the knowledge required to discern an error is not widespread, meaning that the group of legitimate scrutineers is a small subset of people, who can easily have a systemic bias or be corrupted relatively easily, as opposed to people selected from society at large (as can be done with hand-marked paper ballots).

@lightweight Only a small subset of people get to hand-count the vote. And an even smaller subset get to select who those are! And the abstraction is not necessarily arbitrary. You can decide to use one single non-arbitrary well-defined implementation. And even if there is systemic bias or corruption in electronic voting, a random hand-count can still reveal that.

@lightweight I'm not saying e-voting is good. I'm saying that random hand-counts work to keep it in check just as well as vote counting machines. As long as you have the original signed voting records for everyone, you can count them yourself, something that would be even easier if we could distribute electronic copies of the data.

@cy I continue to disagree that it's desirable to adopt electronic voting (using a computerised device to collect a voter's vote rather than a hand-marked ballot) or (especially) online voting. I don't think electronic voting offers any advantage over paper ballots. And online voting is just stupid on a whole bunch of levels.

@lightweight @fu It's the old argument that you need a pigopolist totalitarian state, or you'd have no way to coordinate building roads. My answer is look how terrible our roads are! They're ruining our lives and destroying the planet! No way for you or anyone to hold road-makers responsible. You end up murdering minorities by proxy, when they build freeways through their neighborhoods, because you trusted someone you did not know.

@cy @lightweight @fu

I would build a million highways if it actually killed niggers.

@lightweight @fu So... building roads is an unsolved problem, is what I'm saying. We need to figure out how to coordinate it, without ignoring the physical reality that we can't keep track of more people than we can keep track of.

@lightweight @cy There's really two possible solutions to roads without the State. (1.) Who would make the roads, well the same folks who do now, the workers. Without artificial scarcity and the guns of government backing a totalitarian capitalist regime, we could just build them as the need arises without needing to get approval from some dude with a shiny badge who will probably spend too much money giving the job not to the best workers, but the one whose excess labor is extracted by his cousin. (2.) If the government weren't making so many damn roads, we would have Jetsonmobiles by now.

@fu @lightweight Roads are kind of easy mode though. The tyrannical empire of Rome was defined by the roads they had their slaves pound out to make swift transfer of military forces possible. Roads have been used to oppress us way more than help us. A more difficult question is how do you get help when you're hurt?

@cy @fu @lightweight supposedly road maintenance in Rome was delegated by having someone who lives on that parcel of land and they're allowed to grow olive trees there as long as they make sure the pavement stays in good condition

@icedquinn @lightweight @fu Oh sure, I meant outside Rome. They built roads all over Europe!

@lightweight @cy if voting actually made a difference it would be illegal
"New Zealand has officially elected Boaty McBoatface to a majority of seats in the parliament, so it's official that Boaty McBoatface is now the Prime Minister!"
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