June 11, 2004

The Smartmatic-Bizta-Cantv Offer

This was prepared for the regional elections. I've translated it from Spanish. I can't help but notice that the auditoria-en-caliente (on the spot auditing) is built into the system.

How do you vote with SBC?

1-The elector registers at the voting table, as happens in every election.

2-The staff at the voting table introduces the voter to the voting machine, which shows an electronic ballot that looks exactly the same as the ballots that all Venezuelans are used to.

3. The voter selects his preferred candidate touching the sensitive parts of the screen on the electronic ballot. There is no need to use pencils, or to struggle to fill in little ovals. The use of the electronic ballot is extremely easy, including for people who cannot read or write.

4. The machine allows the voter to verify his or her choice, showing the selected candidates on a color screen. The voter may change his choice as many times as he or she wishes before confirming the vote.

5. When the voter is sure of having chosen the right candidate, he presses the "Vote" button on the machine's screen. The machine stores the electronic vote permanently and securely. Since there is no possibility of error, the new machine eliminates the possibility of numerical inconsistencies.

6. The machine prints a physical vote that allows the voter to conduct an on-the-spot audit of his or her vote, confirming that it has been registered correctly.

7. To conclude the voting act, the voter folds the physical vote and places it in a ballot box. The physical votes back up the electronic vote in case of an audit, and cannot be forged.

What happens with the electronic votes?

1. Automated and secure vote registry: Once the voter has made his choice, it is stored in the machine in a permanent and secure way. The security and encryption technologies used in the new machine prevent the vote from being erased or manipulated in any other way, either in the machine or once it is transmitted to the tallying system. The old [ES&S scanner] machines kept the information insecurely, which allowed anyone to access and manipulate votes at leisure.

2. Encrypted transmission and storage: At the end of election day, the machines transmit the results of the vote to the tallying system. This transmission is encrypted and authenticated over telephone lines, guaranteeing zero data loss or manipulation. The tallying system receives the results of the vote and stores them in an encrypted fashion. These results can only be decoded by the tallying software.

3. 100% automated tallying and adjudication: The new automated system guarantees that the tallying and adjudication will happen automatically and instantaneously, which will prevent results being modified in any way. Previous elections relied on manual tallying and adjudication, allowing the easy manipulation of results of the vote on the part of tallying officials, either by mistake or intentionally.

4. Publication of results via the web: As soon as the automated tallying results are produced, whether partial or total, they will be published directly on the National Election Council web page, for access by the general public