Discover more from bad cattitude
accusations of electoral fraud
if you want trust, stop posturing and solve the problem
this seems to be all the rage these days and with millions of brazilians pouring into the streets and shutting down big swathes of the country over what they claim to be widespread and severe fraud by a politician whose last reign was characterized by just such things, much of the political in-gang all over the world has a worried weather eye on the issue.
and they are terrified of this.
i profess zero actual knowledge of what went down in brazil and the truth or falsity of the electoral allegations.
people seem to mostly pick sides on such issues uncritically based on desired outcome and partisan status.
but i will say this: it would not surprise me in the slightest to learn that there was widespread fraud in this or 100 other elections around the world including in the US.
and that has become a serious problem.
in america in particular, everyone is accusing everyone of cheating all the time. the entire trump presidency was beset by accusations of stealing the 2016 election, russian influence, and who knows what else that were absolutely everywhere. the media loved it.
the same happened in the mid terms in 2018.
and 2020 was obviously a clownshow of unprecedentedly slipshod voting practice, counting discontinuities, and inability to review and assess methods and outcomes.
whatever happened, the sheer stonewalling of electoral officials preventing audits and investigation and the wild lack of accountability or even curiosity about that was as breathtaking as the sudden pivot of the same people who spent 4 years yelling “orange man election illegitimate!” to “questioning a US election makes you a domestic terrorist and a threat to america!”
it was frankly grotesque how transparently situational all these ethics became.
this fact pattern alone is plenty for reasonable people to ask reasonable questions and to have substantial failures of trust in the system.
and the evolution is ongoing as this same “it’s treason when you do it” team is already questioning the seeming red wave to come and trying to cast it as illegitimate.
and just when you thought the president could not find a way to be more inflammatory and divisive than he was in philly, he stands before the US capitol and bellows that his political opponents are enemies not just of the state, but of democracy!
extremists want to intimidate voters!
the dogs of this fair nation must be migraine addled from the endless whistling.
amusingly, nearly everyone agrees that this under-title is true:
they are just arguing over who did the subverting and to whom.
and this is VERY dangerous fire to play with.
this is late stage “fall of the republic” stuff that either turns a regime into such a cartoonish pastiche of a corrupt political machine that the world erupts into the street or gets used as a “failing” or “coup” to justify an out and out junta to “take control and restore democracy” a claim set whose track record speaks for itself.
these are not roads you want to travel.
and honestly, this whole issue is really pretty simple once you frame it properly.
it just comes down to one simple fact:
pretty simple once you see it, huh?
and once you do, the answer is obvious: do not let government count votes.
if you really stop and think about it, allowing the people currently in power to determine the system by which voters are registered, votes are cast, and ballots are counted with truly minimal transparency and even less accountability is a recipe for what? free and fair elections? good behavior? expressing the will of the demos?
we are the richest and most technologically advanced country in the history of countries and we cannot count votes in a manner that assures an accurate count of eligible voters in real time?
of course we could. it’s not even hard.
the fact that we don’t demonstrates one thing and one thing only:
we don’t want to.
the powers that be and who make these choices LIKE it this way. they want it crooked and broken and unaccountable because it serves them.
this is a choice, not some property of the universe.
and that is why we need to take this power away from the state. they will never be trustworthy to wield it.
no one will.
and that is why we must create a system run by no one but auditable and visible to everyone.
and NOTHING about that is hard.
registration must require proof of citizenship. you do it once, bring your birth cert, photo ID, passport, SS card, etc.
this is what we do on puerto rico. you get a voter ID card with your picture on it emblazoned with holograms and real ID features. each of the three major political parties is present and processes some part of your application. they all watch each other. you need this card to vote. contrary to all manner of wild (and mostly deeply racist and insulting) claims, this does NOT suppress voter registration or turnout. people have no trouble getting this or bringing it to vote which is done in person at one location assigned to you. mail in voting is not a thing here. no one would trust it.
we need to be sure that those who are citizens can vote and those who are not cannot. this is essential to election integrity and public trust.
this registration entitles you to vote in the new, open source, all automated “american voting system 2.0.”
when you register, you generate a PKI pair. i won’t bore you with the cryptography, but this means you have a private key that only you possess. you’ll store it on your card. it interacts in complex ways with your public key and the public and private keys of other parties such as a piece of voting tally software.
this means you can cast a vote that ONLY you could have cast and a record of that vote can be indelibly added to a public database/blockchain that everyone can see (though they cannot tell who you are) and that you or anyone else can validate. none of it can be changed without your key without invalidating the whole chain.
this is how most cryptocurrency and many kinds of outward facing transaction systems work already. there is nothing remotely exotic here. it’s well developed tech, safe, secure, and anonymous but also public and auditable including by you who can always validate that your vote was cast properly and counted.
no one but you will know who you voted for. but the fact that you voted is known as is the fact that you were a validated, registered voter and all this can be checked and checksummed by software and outside inspection. votes cast must equal votes counted, no one can vote twice, and no one can “invent” votes.
the whole system is open source (like any good cryptography system) and anyone and everyone can audit the code which will throw out checksum hashes that it is operating correctly when instantiated. we can hold a sort of “navigation prize” contest to develop it, post it, and pay big bug bounties for anyone who can compromise or run an exploit on it. let the world tear at it until it is safe and proven.
then roll it out.
voting will be in person. you get validated on site (any site as the picture is digital vs your registry reference) by photo ID (and pin) or even face/biometric if you want to go that way. like many places, polls can be open a week. if someone can come up with a cheat proof way to do distance voting, let’s look at it, but that’s a tricky can of worms and we do not need to start there. most systems manage without it.
literally the picosecond voting closes, we’ll know the result and it will all be provable.
this is the whole system. it’s really this simple. all the software is run like an open source cryptography protocol because that’s what it is. it will be trusted because anyone can audit the code and all of us can watch it work and validate that our vote was counted accurately in real time.
those entitled to vote can, those not entitled cannot, and there is no way to conjure fake ballots out of nowhere or “find some extra boxes” or run ballots twice or just change a few numbers.
it requires no trust in government or politicians.
such systems can be used to run major exchanges. using them to count and account 200 million votes is trivial.
and that’s it. it’s literally that easy.
if we wanted it, we could have it for 2024.
it would be free, fair, and trustworthy.
and so here’s my question:
why is no one putting this to politicians?
because they are NOT going to offer it up.
they will rip this country to pieces in accusations and counter-accusation of foul play before they let their thumbs be pried off the scales of electoral influence.
“let’s you and them fight” is always good for business when business is staying in power and keeping the demos distracted.
but this is a stunningly dishonest puppetshow put forward to discredit and divide.
whether it is true or false or who did what to whom and where is NOT the issue. this is just more marionette matinee. there is almost certainly corruption all over US elections.
and none of these people are actually trying to fix it. it’s a societal lose/lose debate over which gang of organized criminals gets to slant the playing field this time and in what fashion.
so how about this?
talking about needing trust in elections while providing “so put my (or any) party in power to oversee them!” is no longer a permissible answer.
maybe you have a better plan than mine.
trot it out.
i’m all ears.
but if you want to talk about election security and trust, provide a real plan with real reasons to place faith it not version 2,947 of “trust me, we’re the good guys” because that sort of tired twaddle is the problem and we the people have had it up to here with the gag-reel of pratfall rage politics it engenders.
trustless systems are the future, and it’s time this was relegated to the past: