What solutions have been proposed in the US to an abstract contaminated vote bag problem?

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The Politicus
Nov 12, 2018 05:46 AM 0 Answers
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Suppose in an anonymous voting system, we have a bag of 100 legitimate votes soon to be counted. Unfortunately, before the 100 legitimate votes reach the the counting table, a man in a bandit mask and wearing a black and white striped shirt steals in, drops a single unauthorized vote in the bag, mixes it up, cackles maniacally, and runs away. Now the bag contains 100 legitimate votes, and one illegitimate ballot, but nobody knows which is which.

Solutions are proposed:

  • Those who believe that no illegitimate vote must ever be tolerated argue that the bag should be burned, since its count was spoiled.

  • Others believe ruining 100 votes to prevent 1 bad ballot is too extreme, and just as the FDA regards small amounts of filth as unavoidable in commercial food processing it would be better to let that 1 ballot pass. But for general cases they can't agree what on the healthiest ratio to limit contamination is.

Are the 50 US state's policies on similar problems uniform, or do different states opt for different solutions? Do other nations have relevant policies?

Extra: explanations and justifications for such policies are OK, but should
address the policies limits or theoretical limits, (if any). That is, suppose the bag was very large, (and the ballots were tiny), and contained 1,000,000 legitimate ballots, and one bad one; as well as the opposite case, a bag with one legitimate ballot, and 1,000,000 fraudulent ones...


Note: if that's too abstract, here's an equivalent real-life illustration:

In 2021, people advocating for stricter voter-ID laws, claim to fear that similarly minuscule risks of contamination are tantamount to an immense and virulent fraud, a calamitous voting hygeine emergency necessitating massive preventative suppression. Allowing their premise, (for the sake of argument let's naively suppose it's completely and dangerously true), how far would its advocates take such arguments -- what is their most minimal possible condition to morally justify any given larger degree of suppression?

IOW, for c contaminated votes, then let p be the coefficient of c, (e.g. c*p), indicating how many suspect voters must be suppressed and inconvenienced. What function should be used to compute p?

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  • November 12, 2018