Monthly Archives: November 2007

Revived attempt to ‘fix’ CA electorial college votes

I guess that I spoke too soon. The partisan Republican attempt to change the way that California distributes it’s electoral votes is back in action.

The Ballot Access News reports:

According to this story in the Riverside, California Press-Enterprise, wealthy Congressman Darrell Issa of San Diego County has agreed to pay to get an initiative on the California June 2008 ballot. That initiative would provide that each U.S. House district elect its own elector. The initiative already collected 100,000 signatures in August, then had been abandoned for lack of funding.

Here is Jack Santucci’s take on this development (Jack was an analyst at Fairvote.org and I’ve disagreed with him frequently on other matters. Here I am nearly full agreement with him.):

CA Congressman Darrell Issa (R-49) will help bankroll the effort to split California’s Electoral College votes by congressional district (CD allocation). And he’s defending it as a move to “proportional representation.”

“This is about making people’s votes count,” he said. “It’s about proportional representation.” […]

Issa insists that he has not endorsed a candidate for president and said the effort is not motivated by politics, but by a desire to increase voter turnout in the state.

“If Florida had proportional representation [in 2000], Al Gore would be president today,” he said.

In another post I highlight some problems with CD allocation. The biggest (in my opinion) is that doing so would drastically raise the stakes of redistricting wherever the system were implemented. Bluntly, gerrymandering would affect presidential elections.

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Colbert’s presidential bid

Colbert running for president

Comedian Stephan Colbert (host of fake personality-driven pundit shows ‘the Colbert Report’ on Comedy Central) had announced that he was running for president.
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Quantum crypto in elections? To what end?

From Network World:

Swiss officials are using quantum cryptography technology to protect voting ballots cast in the Geneva region of Switzerland during parliamentary elections to be held Oct. 21, marking the first time this type of advanced encryption will be used for election protection purposes.

For the Swiss ballot-collection process, the quantum cryptography system made by id Quantique will be used to secure the link between the central ballot-counting station in downtown Geneva and a government data center in the suburbs.

“We would like to provide optimal security conditions for the work of counting the ballots,” said Robert Hensler, the Geneva State Chancellor, in a statement issued today. “In this context, the value added by quantum cryptography concerns not so much protection from outside attempts to interfere as the ability to verify that the data have not been corrupted in transit between entry and storage.”

Got that? Swiss officials will be using quantum crypto to encrypt the communication channel between a central ballot counting station and a government data center. It’s only used for a small part of the election process and, to the best of my knowledge, the information that is being transmitted along this channel ought to be public information anyways.

So I see nothing of value here. Standard communication techniques like SSL would have worked fine. I’m not alone in my assessment.

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