An external Voting Advice System gives us a way to verify the accuracy of counted votes!
I spent a good five years, from 1999 to 2004, trying to figure out a way to make money irrelevant to the election process — in effect, to take the money out of politics. I talked to everyone I knew who had a brain to think with, and considered many possible options.
One of the options I considered was an online voting system. But it didn’t take long to reject that option.
The problem with such an implementation was how to ensure that it hadn’t been hacked. That is one tricky, highly technical problem. It is also the major obstacle to trusting such a system — and as Russia’s recent attempts to hack our voting systems shows, it is no small danger.
Since many extremely smart people are already working hard to safeguard those systems, it made little sense to duplicate their efforts. It made more sense to build on their efforts. So it occurred to me that giving voting advice was the way to go, rather than tallying the actual votes.
As an added bonus, as the system becomes more widely used it can be used to check the vote. Adding up the recommendations people received is one way to do that. Those numbers can at least provide an estimate of probable votes.
But an even better option is to add an “I voted” button. Then, for each candidate and issue, the system can identify the minimum number of votes that were cast.
The more widely used the system becomes, the more accurate that measure becomes. (And as described The Voting Advice System Will Be Rapidly Adopted, widespread usage will tend to happen sooner, rather than later.) So if votes are “lost”, it becomes possible to find out.
In other words, the Voting Advice System can provide an accuracy check on vote counting — which is yet another good reason to adopt it.
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