Pretty Good Polling
PGP Guaranteed Polling
I am creating a software suite for PGP Guaranteed Polling, which will enable members of a voting group to post their political preferences in a public place for easy polling by anyone.
Essential to this scheme is the ability of each voter to cryprographically sign her publicised political preferences with a public key, that key having been itself signed by the Registrar of Voters with an annually expiring key. This signing by the Registrar can happen any day during business hours at the office of the Registrar of Voters, in person.
(For the purposes of private organizations, substitute Voter with Voting Member and Registrar with Membership Coordinator)
A voter is not required to present for signing a public key which corresponds to her legal name, however the voter must present sufficient evidence to the Registrar to establish that she is eligible to vote. At this time the Regstrar will cross the voter's name off the list and sign her public key once and only once for the current year.
The Registrar is expected to keep no records of the process of signing the voters' public keys, other than the list of voters who have had keys signed in the current year, and a raw number of signings made with the current key. This information is important for the public to ensure that the Registrar is not signing keys for ineligible or nonexistant persons, or more than once for eligible voters.
If a voter does not trust the Registrar to destroy records of her public key during the signing process, she can use "blinding" technology to obscure her public key from the Registrar during the signing process. When she gets home, the voter can "unblind" her public key while still being able to prove that her key has been signed by the Registrar. (This part of the process is in the development phase since blinding is a relatively new concept in cryptography)
Once the voter has her signed key, she can create a "screed" which is simply a text-only page beginning with a line about eligibility to vote, like "I am a voter in Berkeley, Alameda County, California, USA" The next lines each espouse a specific political view which can be worded any way the voter feels, for example, "do not reduce drinking age to 18".
Before or after posting her screed, a voter (or anyone) can run a simple open-source program to tally and tabulate all of the screeds found on the internet with keys signed by Registrars local or otherwise. This program will then present the viewer with a summation of lines found to be identical and the prevalence of those lines. The user can then flag lines which are equivalent (but not textually identical) to get a more accurate tabulation, and if the user is a voter, to discover which lines are most common. The voter can use this information to update her screed to the most conventional phrases while maintaining the same political thrust.
Voters (and anyone) can find these tabulations regularly posted by journalists and editors of local newspaper websites, reducing the need for each voter to run their own software scan. (except in cases of contraversy or close tallies) Voters can also use these tabulations to learn about popular political issues and the common phrasing associated with those issues. Voters can update their public screed as often as they like. This process continues organically on no schedule, always improving the clarity of the sum of public opinion on an unlimited number of issues.
to be added: role of page hosts (facebook, blogspot, local newspaper sites, etc) process of polling taken by journalists, citizens, and anyone software used by voters for posting their public page software for polling and tabulating text-based opinions software for voters to monitor their own public page role of special interest groups in advising voters of issues role of special interest groups in assisting voters in the process ...