Voting Security and Gerrymandering

While there is no evidence of significant voter fraud on the part of individuals, election fraud has been a problem in every election where the vote count is done behind closed doors or inside a black box.

Secure voting and polling is not possible with entirely electronic systems - any of them will be hacked eventually, especially now that entire governments are dedicated to doing so. Internet voting security can be beefed up as much as current technology makes possible, but ultimate security requires that at least a representative sample is verified by in-person voting using systems that transmit the vote and the vote confirmation on verifiably separate paths.

Electronic voting requires a secure incoming portal. For example, every American has a Social Security Number, as do non-citizen workers in the U.S. The Social Security Administration's website could be enhanced to provide the highest security available for logging in through the internet, with the capacity to handle as many simultaneous users as possible. The latter would be necessary to allow every voter the opportunity to check the accuracy of the recording of their votes on Election Day (most votes would be cast in advance); high capacity would also be required to handle surges in interest in a particular polling issue as a result of coverage by news broadcasts and social media.

All ballots nationwide (and polls paid for by each polling entity) would be placed on the secure portal's servers. A federal agency would be responsible for verification of the identity and authority of each ballot or poll's source for its initiation or alteration. Voting is the fundamental pillar of our democracy, and its protection merits the services of NSA-level oversight. FEC is not up to it.

The voter database would be initially populated by data from local voting authorities and verified against SSA information. Voters would be notified of the results of the verification/non-verification.

Each voter would self-identify their voting precinct and voter status, and an email and/or written verification would be sent to each voter based on their personal data in the SSA's database, which would automatically check for duplicate or otherwise false registrations.

Secret voting would be maintained by allowing results to be viewed in anonymous summary form only, with other information of interest to news, political, polling, and commercial organizations available only as verifiably authorized by the voter and for a fee paid by the requesting organization. The primary source of such information would continue to be exit polls, adjusted for known historical differences between early and online voters and those who vote (or verify their votes) in person on Election Day.

The fact that in-person voting or verification will always be the only way to realistically test the integrity of the electronic system will appeal to voters' patriotism and inspire them to show up.

Voters would also be allowed to cast a non-binding vote related to candidates and issues included in the ballots for neighboring districts where gerrymandering has effectively disenfranchised them. As a way to regain our status as a world leader, the U.S could expand the capacity of the system to allow anyone in the world to voice their opinion on any issue at any time. Politicians would be evaluated on the basis of their explanations as to why they took an action contrary to the popular majority will.

All ballots nationwide (and polls paid for by each polling entity) would be placed on the secure portal's servers. A federal agency would be responsible for verification of the identity and authority of each ballot or poll's source for its initiation or alteration.

The voter database would be initially populated by data from local voting authorities and verified against SSA information.

Local authorities that have voter Social Security Numbers would provide only the SSN and the voter's currently registered precinct; no names, addresses, or other personal information.

Local authorities that do not have voter Social Security Numbers would provide name, address, and currently registered precinct only.

Personal information would be protected by legislation that would require both a court order and advance notification to the voter, with sufficient time allowed for the voter to attempt to block the release of the information; law enforcement and security agencies would need to look elsewhere when seeking access to such information secretly, with severe penalties for anyone involved with any violations. The right to vote is too important to be affected by concerns about abuse of voter privacy; this fundamental right trumps all other interests.

Voters would be notified of the results of the verification/non-verification, including instances where no information has been received for them.

As a world leader, the U.S could expand the capacity of the system to allow anyone in the world to voice their opinion on any issue at any time. Politicians would be evaluated on the basis of their explanations as to why they took an action contrary to the popular majority will.

The only question is - who will lead the way, and who will leave the others in the dust? Facebook, Twitter, Congress, ...? The secure in-person voting/vote verification process is detailed below:

The key to maintaining security against election fraud is to use the same two fundamental methods that are used for ultra-high-security computer systems - an air gap, and separation of control of incoming and outgoing data.

Ultra-high security systems do not allow outside direct access to the core of the system. Data is input directly either from a keyboard or from intermediate media (CD, tape, etc.) that has been scrutinized when not under the control of the originating system. For high security communications, the incoming and outgoing communication paths are kept separate and monitored to detect attempts to control both paths simultaneously. Systems that don't use air gaps will always be vulnerable to electronic tampering.

The application of an air gap and separate communication paths will provide secure voting, and can be accomplished with off-the-shelf technology.

Below is an outline of the protocol:


Internet Line to Centralized Vote Recorder

Record Vote

Print Ballot



for Record

Air Gap!

↓ Air Gap!

Print Ballot

Return Phone Line to Voting Booth


for Voter

Printed Ballot

Each voting station is equipped with two basic laptops, one printer, a broadband internet connection, and a phone line.

One laptop would be used for transmitting the vote over the internet, and the other for receiving confirmation of the vote over the phone line. Any attempts by hackers to control both paths for even a single voting station would be both highly difficult and easily detectable.

These could be inexpensive laptops currently being produced for distribution to third-world children, or laptops provided by donors for the purpose of public relations and that would be subsequently donated to local schools. The same could apply to the printers.

Each laptop would be prepared by erasing and reformatting the hard drive, and installing an open operating system such as Linux and open internet communication software such as Firefox. The vote transmission laptop would have internet broadband connection and point-&-click balloting software installed. The vote confirmation laptop would have internet phone-connection and printing software installed. There is no connection between the two laptops. More intensive security measures should be considered, such as tests to detect hardware viruses or other tampering not eliminated by standard erasing and reformatting procedures.

Freely available or donated software would record the votes and also monitor the incoming signal for signs of tampering and take the appropriate action.

Each incoming ballot is printed or otherwise visibly displayed at the recording facility.

The printout or display of each incoming ballot is scanned by a system not connected to the incoming system. This is the key air gap. Scanners have become relatively inexpensive, and could also be donated for subsequent donation to local schools. Standardization of ballot formats would simplify the scanning software requirements and speed up the entire process by allowing a text scan/print rather than an image scan/print.

The scanning system transmits the scanned ballot via the phone-line internet connection to the confirming laptop, where two copies are printed (one for the voter, one for the precinct).

The confirmation signal would also be monitored for signs of tampering. The separation of the signal paths would require perpetrators to simultaneously control both the transmission signal and the confirmation signal, which in itself should be sufficiently difficult that the voting system could be expected to remain secure.

Cost of components: Initially the number of voting stations would be virtually the same as the current number of voting stations, and each voting station would require the same set of components as described below, ideally with the components being donated by manufacturers or other parties for later distribution to schools. Each polling station could be set up by volunteers according to established standards, and then each station would be certified by traveling teams of reviewers (as I assume they are currently). While some polling stations may need inexpensive temporary wiring and adapters to multiplex the use of multiple stations over single phone lines and internet lines, polling stations in schools could be generally expected to have the necessary capacity in place.

Timing: The system would be composed almost entirely of available off-the-shelf software and hardware, and could be put in place very quickly. The first step would be to determine the feasibility of the system, then establish minimum standards for the hardware and software at the polling stations and the ballot recording facility, followed by a campaign to solicit donors and volunteers.

The future: As the public becomes familiar and comfortable with the concept of secure voting using air gaps and separation of communication paths, it would be expected that online voting would substantially replace voting in person at a poll station, allowing reduction in the number of physical stations required. The separation of paths for online voting would be in the form of a confirming email that is transmitted by an internet path that is electronically verified to be sufficiently separate from the ballot transmission path to ensure that both paths cannot be simultaneously controlled by any perpetrator for the purpose of altering a statistically significant number of votes. This would also enable real-time polling on a wide variety of issues and reduce the ability of special interests to claim greater support for their agenda than actually exists. This would also enable voters to have access to thoughtful pro and con consideration of issues at a central resource well in advance of an election, instead of basing their vote on sound bites, biased media offerings, and brash conflicting claims in State-issued voter pamphlets. While it is not expected that an extremely high number of eligible voters would devote sufficient time to understanding the issues, it can be expected that a high proportion of those who actually vote would do so.

We have the opportunity and the responsibility to lead the way to elimination of election fraud nationwide and ultimately worldwide, and changing apathetic or repressed societies into involved societies.


The very purpose of gerrymandering is to make our democracy less representative, which is fundamentally unconstitutional.

The Justice Department should go after every guilty legislature, Rep or Dem, and impose non-partisan redistricting plans nationwide.

Here's your zero-politics starting point:

Use a 3D version of the map, like the one below, to draw new Federal election districts - child's play for a topological expert, might take a whole afternoon. Could also be done as an online game like gene folding.

Draw a circle around each population peak to include about 700,000 people. Surround each of those circles with other approximate circles each including about 700,000 people until the whole country is covered. Refine the lines based on legal borders (just as soon skip this step, but big ducks ...). Use Google Maps etc. to further refine the borders along street lines, natural barriers such as rivers, lakes, mountains, etc. Finally refine the lines based on common community interests, with input from the public, being very, very careful to avoid introducing partisan contamination. These are your new Federal election districts, each including essentially the same number of persons. (~700,000), courtesy of simple mathematics.

Require states to justify (to a Federal court) using any other districting plan, strictly prohibiting any attempt to impose political advantage.

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