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From Sixty to Zero

Of course, none of these technologies would address existing problems with voter registration, which are significant. California Secretary of State Bill Jones estimated in 1997 that ten to twenty-five percent of his State's voter rolls were deadwood 38 or fraudulent registrations. It is VIP's experience that the problem has grown even worse and has contaminated virtually every voting jurisdiction.

John L. Seibel, President of TrueBallot, Inc., a provider of private voting systems, wrote recently regarding Internet voting security:

"Casting and counting votes is only half of the issue. The voter qualification process must be up to the task. It is useless to quickly, cheaply and flawlessly count votes from people who should never have been able to vote, or from voters who cast multiple ballots. While the end result may be accurate, it would be fatally flawed.

"As a result of the 'motor voter' bill which prohibits state election officials from requiring identification from voters wishing to register and efforts in some states to allow individuals to register to vote on line, the pool of voters is becoming corrupted. Stories abound of people registering their pets, cartoon characters and even the entire crew of the Starship Enterprise.

"This is where voting is distinguishable from commercial applications. Before a credit card company gives someone credit, it has a very good understanding of who that someone is, where they live, how much they make, where they bank, and what their social security number is. Thus, the major problem with commercial transactions on the Internet is not the security of the individual transaction, but with the use of stolen or bogus credit cards. The same would be true for voting except that the problem of bogus voters is perpetuated and protected by federal law.

"If voters can both register without identification, and then vote remotely with only the identification that they received from the flawed registration process, then there is no assurance that Mr. Spock, Ensign Sulu, and Lt. Uhura won't cast ballots (which might look curiously similar to each other). The principal of 'one man one vote' would be vitiated, and the 'accurate' result worthless." 38

38. "Deadwood" registrations consist of voters who have died, moved, or been disqualified for other reasons such as incarceration, but who have not been purged from the registration records.

39. Mr Seibel is an attorney in Washington D.C. and the president of TrueBallot, Inc., which specializes in automated election administration for non-public elections (corporations, associations, unions). He is also on the National Advisory Board of the Voting Integrity Project and a member of VIP's Election Systems Committee.

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