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How to authenticate CoCs if ER is unsigned digitally By Orlando Roncesvalles COMMENT 05/30/2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How to authenticate CoCs if ER is unsigned digitally

By Orlando Roncesvalles


The central question for Congress as a canvassing body is this: How do we know that the Certificates of Canvass (CoCs) are duly executed, if the electronic Election Returns (ERs) on which they are based are not duly executed?

Here’s a method for ensuring a proper CoC in the public canvass at Congress, under conditions where the precinct-level ERs were not digitally signed.

I presume that the printed ER is nonetheless manually signed by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). At the very least there is a precinct count optical scan (PCOS)-printed ER distributed to candidates at the end of the election day.

CoCs at the first level, say at the municipal level, are printed out by computer from electronic transmissions (by modem or by reading of CF cards). The proper person signing on the CoC cannot properly attest that the CoC is duly executed if there is a discrepancy between the printed ER and the electronically transmitted (but digitally unsigned) ER. 

How does that signatory know that there is no discrepancy? Ordinarily, he knows or he can safely presume there is no discrepancy because there was a digital signature on the ER indicating reliability of the electronically transmitted ER. Extraordinarily, he could publicly and manually compare the printed ER and the electronic ER. If he did this, then the CoC is authentic on its face. (There may still be problems if the PCOS was “pre-loaded” or “post-loaded” with irregular ballots prior to printing the ER and its electronic transmission, and such problems may not even be discovered by a manual audit, but this is a different story.)

So there. The proper question to ask of the folks who deliver the CoCs for further public canvass, such as at Congress, is this: What is the assurance that the very first step of generating and transmitting an ER is safe and reliable, given that the machine count is not done manually and publicly?... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com6.html


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