Someone asked how to collect votes using email. The scheme suggested
here is succeptible to tampering by the person whose account is being
used. But it should suffice for some purposes.
A user creates a special email address. Voters send messages containing their
votes to this address. The messages are forwarded to observers, and
copies are collected in a file. The file is visible on the Web.
Voters must already have agreed to the scheme, and on the user and
observers in advance.
How to implement it
Suppose petra-k user Amy Greene (firstname.lastname@example.org) and observers
Buzz Hemphill (email@example.com) and Candice Bract (firstname.lastname@example.org)
are chosen by the group to carry out the vote on Issue 3.14 (whatever that is).
Amy decides the ``ballot box''
address will be email@example.com, observable at
Amy just needs to make an appropriate forwarding alias. If this is the first
such vote, she needs to create the
- Amy invokes her Secure Shell
(she's a Macintosh user) and logs into a shell (the command interpreter)
- She types the following command to create the directory:
- She creates the ballot box file:
and checks it with her Web browser.
- Amy doesn't like text editors and she's a confident typist. So she
types the follwing commands to create the needed
file. She could have used the Easy Editor or Vim.
She chose the
command to collect the ballots. That's because the Web server needs to
be able to read the file. If she had used a plain old Qmail mailbox,
the Web server would not have been able to read it. Email is supposed
to be private. Qmail will refuse to write mail into a file if
anybody but its owner can read it.
- She checks to see if the .qmail file looks right.
- Qmail is paranoid, and will not obey the
.qmail file if anyone but Amy can write on it. So Amy makes sure.
That step was not necessary, but Amy is paranoid, too.
- When the vote is over, Amy can secure the ballot box by
logging in again and removing the
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