[Osmf-talk] How to breaking the secrecy of the OSMF board election, and confirm someone voted the way you want

Rory McCann rory at technomancy.org
Fri Nov 2 14:00:22 UTC 2018

On 02.11.18 11:29, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:
 > Am Do., 1. Nov. 2018 um 21:06 Uhr schrieb nebulon42 
<nebulon42 at mailbox.org <mailto:nebulon42 at mailbox.org>>:
 >> I think "suggestions" from employers have a smell and should be avoided
 >> since you are in a dependent relationship to your employer and are more
 >> likely to follow the suggestion.
 > although the elections are secret, so the pressure is limited (IMHO).

A secret ballot is important, it should not be possible to prove to
anyone how you voted. If so, and employer could demand you vote a way
they want, check your vote, and disciple you if you didn't follow their

And here's how you do that for the OSMF board elections.

You need many candidates. 2015, had 11 candidates, 2014 had 8,
that's probably enough. 2016 & 2017 had only 4, not enough. Let's say
you want 2 people to be elected, you tell you victims to vote #1 and #2
as appropriate. Then for each victim you have 9 remaining preferences.
That gives 9! or 362,880 different permutations for #3... #11. You give
each victim a different permutation, and tell them to vote in exactly
this manner. Each vote now has a fingerprint

The OSMF publishes the full, raw votes. You confirm each fingerprinted
vote combination, and hence confirm each of your employees voted the way
you wanted.

Releasing vote counts is important for transparency. The solution is,
for each vote, to only show the numbers which were relevant for the
counts. If 10 employees vote candidate A #1 and there are 10
combinations for #2 → #11, and A is elected on the first count, then you
don't print the 10 different full permutations, but 10 ⨉ A: #1 and
withhold the #2 → #11's that had no impact on the counting. The voting
programme can be checked by the public, but the boss can't confirm that
one employee voted a certain way.

I'm highly skeptical any organization is engaged in this level blatant
skulduggery. It's often obvious what candidates an organization would
recommend. But "You are to vote in exactly this order or you'll be
fired" is several orders of magnitude different.


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