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Dr Dill Letter to ECI

Dr Dill Letter to ECI

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Published by saveindiandemocracy
Letter from Dr. David Dill of Stanford to Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr. Navin Chawla.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David L. Dill
Date: Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 12:09 PM
Subject: Letter regarding usage of EVMs in India
To: navinchawla@eci.gov.in
Cc: Satya D


Mr. Navin Chawla,

Attached you will find a letter regarding usage of EVMs in India. I look
forward to hearing from you.

cc: Satya Dosapati, Save Indian Democracy Organization

Best Regards,
Dr. David L. Dill
Professor of Computer Science
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305*


Letter from Dr. David Dill of Stanford to Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr. Navin Chawla.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David L. Dill
Date: Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 12:09 PM
Subject: Letter regarding usage of EVMs in India
To: navinchawla@eci.gov.in
Cc: Satya D


Mr. Navin Chawla,

Attached you will find a letter regarding usage of EVMs in India. I look
forward to hearing from you.

cc: Satya Dosapati, Save Indian Democracy Organization

Best Regards,
Dr. David L. Dill
Professor of Computer Science
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305*


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Published by: saveindiandemocracy on Feb 16, 2010
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09/17/2013

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Dr. David L.

Dill Professor of Computer Science Stanford University Gates Bldg Rm 344 Stanford, CA 94305-9030 Office: (650) 725-3642 Fax: (650) 725-6949 dill@cs.stanford.edu February 3, 2010 Mr. Navin Chawla Chief Election Commissioner Election Commission of India Nirvachan Sadan Ashoka Road, New Delhi 110001 I am writing this letter at the request of Satya Dosapati from the Save Indian Democracy Organization with regard to the ongoing debate on the usage of EVMs in India. I am an American computer science professor who has spent significant time over the last six years on policy issues in electronic voting. During that time, I have founded two organizations, testified before the U.S. Senate, and appeared in several nationally distributed news shows and documentaries. I would like to share with you some facts and conclusions I have come to during that work. An important function of elections is to establish the legitimacy of the elected officials in the eyes of the public. Skeptical, untrusting observers should be able to see that election results are correct. It is not sufficient for election results to be accurate; the public must know that the results are accurate. Civil society is damaged if elections are not credible, even when fraud cannot be demonstrated. In traditional elections, paper ballots contribute to election credibility because voters can ensure that their votes have been properly recorded (when they write them on the ballot), and poll workers and observers at the polling place can ensure that ballots are not changed, added or removed after being deposited in the ballot box. In contrast, purely electronic voting machines do not allow voters to verify that their votes have been accurately recorded, and do not allow observers to witness that the ballots have not been tampered with. Electronic voting machines provide no evidence during or after the election to convince a skeptic that the election results are accurate. It is not clear that this situation would be acceptable even if electronic voting machines could be guaranteed to be accurate and honest. But such assurances are well beyond the current state of computer technology. It is not practical to design fully error-free and reliable computing equipment. More importantly, it is not feasible to prevent malicious changes to the machines' hardware or software. Computers are especially vulnerable to malicious changes by insiders

such as designers, programmers, manufacturers, maintenance technicians, etc. Indeed, it is not known how to build trustworthy paperless electronic voting systems even using extreme security measures. Of course, these problems are magnified enormously when the design of the machines is held secret from independent reviewers. I understand that the argument has been raised in India that the EVMs are safe because they are not connected to a network. All of the concerns I raise apply to non-networked machines, since voting machines in the U.S. are also never connected to the Internet. For example, a manufacturer or technician can maliciously change the software or hardware on a machine whether it is connected to a network or not. With current technology, the only trustworthy voting methods are those that allow individual voters to verify that their votes have been properly recorded on a paper ballot. In the United States, most voting systems rely on paper ballots that are filled out directly by the voters, and counted either by hand or by machine. If the votes are counted by machine, it is necessary to audit the performance of the machines by choosing groups of ballots at random and counting them by hand. In 2003, I authored the ``Resolution on Electronic Voting,'' which has been endorsed by thousands of computer professionals including many of the world's most respected computer scientists. It states: ``Computerized voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering.'' It is time to recognize the reality that there is no basis for public trust in paperless electronic voting equipment. I would be happy to discuss this topic with you further, including technical issues, referring you to individuals with various kinds of expertise whom know, or sharing more detailed experiences with electronic voting issues in the United States. We can converse by telephone, email, or you would be welcome to visit me at Stanford if you are in the United States. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely,

David L. Dill

 

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