E-Voting Usability

The Wikipedia relicensing vote is now running; if you’ve made more than 25 edits to a Wikimedia site, log in and you’ll get a voting link at the top of the page. I recommend “Yes”. :-)

I just voted; and the final page was as follows:

Thank you for voting.

If you wish, you may retain the following receipt as evidence of your vote:

SPID: 6814
—–BEGIN PGP MESSAGE—–
Version: GnuPG v1.4.1 (GNU/Linux)

hQQOAzWmQkC5j9heEBAAuRzInpz0hsj9rsXhoX1uNWr/KHCq4g2lG4X0DWG2GOjC
3COXbvRmQYJFSbx39pSRad0lc9xoPeIuLo/2BmMobZEWoiQ5p5WZeeFNHgJkd5eh

The usability here is terrible. What does it mean “evidence of your vote”? To whom might I want to prove I voted? Who can decode this? What does it say inside? Can they find out which way I voted? Is that OK? Is it supposed to be a secret ballot?

2 thoughts on “E-Voting Usability

  1. At university, my computer security course covered e-voting. From what I remember, I would guess that the idea is that you can plug this PGP message into a page somewhere and verify that your vote has not been altered. Of course, mere proof of a vote is not proof that it has been counted.

  2. What i got was even worse :
    Instead of the voting page, i got a page with the following friendly message:

    Internal error
    From Wikimedia Elections
    Set $wgShowExceptionDetails = true; at the bottom of LocalSettings.php to show detailed debugging information.