The Unfixable Problem of Mail-in & Drop Box Voting

Mail-in ballots sure are convenient, aren’t they?

Unfortunately, that convenience comes with an enormous cost - and that is election legitimacy. In fact,

Wherever mail-in ballots are used, we are witnessing an illegitimate election. Or more accurately, we are not witnessing a secret ballot election at all.

First, let’s just call it what it is. Mail-in voting and drop boxes are nothing but a form of absentee voting. We’re actually trying to vote without being present. From a cyber security perspective, we’re trying to trade convenience for some of us by disenfranchising the votes of others by introducing an unnecessary and dangerous attack vector. Not to mention the fact that there’s no way to vet somebody who’s literally not there!

But before we talk about the manner in which elections can be held, we must understand what a legitimate secret ballot election looks like. If you haven’t yet, go read the topic on this website called “What is an Election?”, and then return here.

The most important thing to understand about mail-in voting is that it has no real vetting nor teller committees, nor any proper observers. So for public sector elections, absentee voting must come to an end - and the sooner the better.

  • Integrity vs Legitimacy

Note that we are not talking about election integrity here. Integrity speaks to the robustness of something. A higher level of integrity means that something that exists is made stronger. Likewise, a lower level of integrity means we have less confidence in it.

But integrity is not the same thing as legitimacy. Unlike integrity, legitimacy is not measured on a scale. It is a Boolean value: true or false. Something is either legitimate or it is not. There are some things that lend themselves to more or less integrity, but there are others that disqualify elections altogether. When speaking of secret ballot elections, absentee voting of any kind (e.g., mail-in, drop boxes) is one of those disqualifiers.

  • Real Elections require Transparency

The canonical protocol for processing mail-in ballots via scanners is not transparent. And without transparency, there’s no way to verify any sort of election. In fact, you can’t even call such an event an election. It’s nothing but a “gathering of unverifiable completed ballots”. For what purpose? In order to pretend that we are holding a secret ballot election when in reality we are not?

What’s going on here? Well, believe it or not, we don’t have elections anymore anywhere in the world where machine counting of mail-in ballots are used. Don’t believe me? Think about it for a minute.

The act of mailing in unverifiable completed ballots, and then counting them with a machine is not voting

Why not?

  • Who Exactly is Voting?

The first and most obvious problem occurs when attempting to identify the absent voter. Matching signatures is hardly a foolproof process. Having observers present is better than not, but it’s simply not good enough. It’s not difficult to get away with faking anyone’s signature. Identifying somebody who isn’t there is an impossible task that is not practiced under any other circumstances (purchasing alcohol, driving a car, getting married, etc.). Why do we allow it for the most important power we have as citizens and that is voting? We shouldn’t. We can’t. Therefore

The widespread practice of absentee voting immediately disqualifies any such secret ballot election

  • Vote Tallying is a 2 Step Process

The next big problem rears its ugly head when we go to count the votes. Back in the day, we had elections that were run solely by teller committees. What is the need for a teller committee? It has two purposes. The first purpose is to count completed ballots. The second purpose is to observe the counting of those same ballots by people from opposing perspectives. That’s it.

Now why do you suppose they are set up this way? It should seem pretty straightforward. Whenever a large set of items are to be counted, you want to have multiple people counting the same things at the same time and then multiple people with opposing perspectives watching them count those same things to make sure that the count is accurate. The tallying of votes is intentionally a two-step process where the votes are first counted and then that count is independently verified by multiple parties.

  • Vote Tallying Requires Consensus

That process of agreement from opposing perspectives is called consensus. Nobody is simply “trusting” that the ballots are counted correctly. Instead, multiple parties are counting at the same time and also observing the counting of the all the ballots from every other party.

  • Consensus Requires Observation

Observation of the counting process is not optional. It’s done for two reasons. The first reason is in case a mistake is made it will be corrected, but the second reason is to make sure that nobody cheats by intentionally altering the true count.

Now let’s move to the machine counting process used for mail-in ballots. Who exactly is observing that count? Think about it for a minute - because apparently Americans have not thought about this very hard. What’s your answer?

The answer is … nobody.

Not only are opposition parties no longer present, but there’s also nobody observing anything.

The observation step in the process has been completely removed

Not good.

That means when you conduct an election with mail-in ballots, which are counted electronically or scanned, the count is not being observed - at all!

Further, the count itself is performed by a single entity, instead of by multiple entities

Therefore, you do not have an election. Perhaps it’s some kind of illusion of an election or kabuki theater, but it’s definitely not an election.

But it sure is convenient!

We all need to stop and think about how incredibly stupid that is. By allowing this to happen, Americans have proven themselves to be among the most careless and gullible people on the planet. They appear to be giving up their only control over their government to their government out of laziness and apathy.

  • An intentional Forfeiture of Power

Just think about that. You basically handed your ballot off to somebody with no assurance whatsoever that your ballot was even counted, nor that it was counted correctly - nor that it was even YOUR BALLOT that was counted! You also have no assurance whatsoever that there aren't millions of other ballots that may look just like yours or not, that can be "counted" because nobody's observing. And no, standing behind a plate of glass half a room away watching ballots go into a machine isn't the same thing as observing vote counts!

And even if you could get right up to the voting machine without getting arrested, you'd have to check each ballot as it left the scan and compare the scan to that ballot. Nobody's doing that. And then you would have to be sure that whatever file system that information was written to couldn't get changed after the vote was first recorded. Nobody's doing that either. How in the world are you going to monitor all of that? Let's be honest. You're not. We're not. So let's stop pretending that we are.

In a nutshell, mail-in voting

  1. Weakens voter eligibility
  2. Annihilates the consensual tallying of votes
  3. Eliminates transparency, due to a lack of observers, and
  4. Disenfranchises voters to the highest degree possible

In terms of disenfranchising voters, this is the opposite of the direction the nation ought to be moving in.

The people demand more transparency, and more participation, not less!

  • How Dare You?

And to make matters worse, they won't let you anywhere near those proprietary voting machines. They'll arrest you. Now someone please tell me how this sort of a fascist process even remotely resembles a free and transparent election. It doesn't. It's not.

Let's stop being so naive.

But this has been in place for a decade. In reality, though, it’s only been in place for 2 Presidential election cycles. Seeing the disastrous consequences these elections has caused people to begin to finally take notice.

  • But no one has said Anything

Yeah, that's pretty incredible. People just did what they were told, and they were too lazy to follow through. (Sound familiar?) Instead of using common sense they were practicing trust. The electorate has been trusting something that is innately untrustworthy - and that is an election

There's no such thing as an election based on trust

There never has been, and there never will be.

Perhaps folks haven’t taken the time to really think this through. But they are now, and they’re not going away until this ridiculous process is eliminated.

  • Can this be Fixed?

Well, if you still insist on mailing in completed ballots, then you need to reinstate teller committees to count those ballots by hand, or you can use an EIP compliant calculator. But even this is a half-baked effort, because the vetting process of the voter themselves is still broken. If nobody shows up in person to register for each election, there’s no way to ensure the eligibility of the voter.

So, what is the conclusion of all of this? The answer is that

If you want to hold real secret ballot elections, they must occur in person

Anything short of that is simply not an election

  • Aha! So, you’re an “Election Denier”

So, is everyone holding this fundamental view an “election denier”? No, because they are not refuting the results of an election, rather they are refuting the fact that an election has even occurred in the first place. That’s a whole different thing. People who take this view are not denying elections, they are merely enforcing them.

If you enjoy the continual turmoil this utter stupidity has unleashed in your country, then sit around and do nothing about it. Such apathy will ultimately result in the continued demise of a nation, and possibly even war as we have seen all across the world.

Now that’s a pretty high price to pay for convenience. Wouldn’t you agree?

So, for jurisdictions that use mail-in ballots, is all lost? Not necessarily. EIP provides a temporary solution that can be put into place immediately for jurisdictions that refuse to move to in-person voting. We refer to these solutions as “operating in a degraded mode”. Why are these offered? Because they provide a better result than what is currently in place. Even though these might not be the optimum solution, the people are better off using them than doing nothing at all and continuing down the same path. On the other hand, since changes would be necessary anyway, why not fix the problems once and for all time by moving to a full EIP implementation?

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