Will The World’s Largest Democracy beat the U.S. to full VVPR?

In late August we covered the arrest of voting integrity advocate Hari Prasad for receiving a voting machine used in India for testing. Researchers with the help of Whistleblower(s) obtained the voting machine and demonstrated its vulnerabilities.

Now, encouraging news from India, via Rop Gonggri. <read>

Yesterday there was a meeting of all the national political parties in India, and it appears the ECI has finally given in: they are now looking at alternatives where the voter sees his/her vote on a piece of paper which can be counted by hand. Here, they also did that, which was just a first step to having the machines scrapped. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the Indian government thinks they can drag on the existing solution until something new is ready. (They tried that here, didn’t work.)

Too early to cry victory, but certainly another big step forward. Now the charges against Hari Prasad, the man who spent time in jail for daring to notice that the emperor had no clothes on, need to be dropped (TODAY GENTLEMEN!) and Hari needs to be fully rehabilitated. Then a strict deadline for scrapping black-box voting needs to be imposed. Then the details of any new voting system need to be worked out. There is already talk of allowing a hand-count only if a judge permits it, which is of course far too restrictive.

Currently the U.S. is a mixture of paper ballots, optical scan paper ballots, DREs (Touch Screen) with Voter Verifiable Paper Records (VVPR(*)), and DREs with no paper voter verifiable record. India is all a simple electronic machine with no paper record.

I would not go quite as far as Rop.  He would have paper ballots with all hand counting. I believe we are better off with paper ballots and optical scanning giving the record of occasional official shenanigans and the spotty record in manual counting by Connecticut officials.

(*) VVPR, Voter Verifiable Paper Records include those produced by DREs and Paper Ballots – paper ballots are much preferred, since they must be filled out by voters.  The paper records produced by DREs are inconvenient to verify and are often not actually verified by voters.

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