There have been a lot of voting threads recently ('tis the season), and one of the issues people have brought up is being able to have a receipt of some sort to prove to yourself that your vote was counted correctly. This would go a long way towards making electronic voting machines be independently verifiable the way that, say, ATMs are.
Others have countered with the fact that giving out receipts would make the ballot not secret. I had never considered that the “secret” part of a secret ballot needs to be mandatory, but it makes sense. If it’s optional, then someone could coerce you into voting in a non-secret way, and just assume that anyone who wouldn’t do so is not cooperating.
But, aren’t we already there?
In many states, anyone can choose to vote absentee. If someone wanted to buy my vote or coerce me into voting a certain way, they could just require that I vote absentee and fill out, seal, and mail my ballot in their presence.
Even where that’s not true, a significant portion of the population already carries a cell phone with a built-in camera around everywhere, including into a voting booth. That portion is only going to increase. You can take a picture of your complete ballot and use that as proof of right voting.
So, given that our current system doesn’t live up to mandatory secret ballots, why is it reasonable to hold electronic voting to the same standards? Is it even possible to design a practical voting system with mandatory secret ballots given the extremely small size of recording devices?