Quote #2: Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.
Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.
The triple asterisks (***) are there to emphasize that this quote was
probably not from Stalin
I regard it as completely unimportant who in the party will vote and how, but it is extremely important who will count the votes and how.
The context was voting inside the Soviet party, which renders more credibility to the quote than would have been expected from those who claim that Stalin couldn't have said anything like it simply because there were no — important — public elections in the Soviet Union.
At any rate, there were probably many other famous thinkers who could have first spelled out this obvious-yet-disregarded truth. One of the oldest ones is from Napoléon III (1808-1873), the nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and France's first president (1848-1852):
I care not who casts the votes of a nation, provided I can count them. (26 May, 1880)
Some other honorable mentions are:
- "As long as I count the Votes, what are you going to do about it? say?" — attributed to William M. “Boss” Tweed in Thomas Nast cartoon, October 7, 1871).
- "There’s more to an election than mere votin’, my boy, for as an eminent American once said: 'I care not who casts the votes of a nation if they’ll let me make the count.'" — from Uncle Henry, a novel by George Creel, 1922.
- "It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting, Archie says." — from Jumpers, a play by Tom Stoppard, 1972.
- "Indeed, you won the elections, but I won the count." — Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza (1896-1956), The Guardian (London), June 17, 1977.
Most people seem to acknowledge that counting is extremely important;
however, when it comes to doing something about making it more
transparent, the media, the experts, the politicians and the overall
population all end up sweeping the problem under the rug. This attitude
can get so hypocritical and frightening, that people can literally walk
into public spaces and hack voting machines however they want in the
USA, as shown by a
recent episode of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight. Some experts, fearing the scalability of hacks to electronic voting,
even go as far as suggesting that we should go backwards, i.e. voting
should be done manually, a method which has supposedly gone
through many trials, and is very difficult and not scalable to
Those arguments all miss the important point: transparency. Regardless
of which voting system we choose, if we guarantee that the voter can
check that her vote has been correctly counted, voting is, thus,
hack-proof. If we can't guarantee transparency, we will never know if
any of our elections' results were true
The crucial problem is then: how to confirm that the votes were counted
correctly while still keeping them secret? Well, in the past,
I've posted about a very simple way of doing this using standard
Quick Update: Recently, I found out that
basically already exists and is currently under implementation all over the world. Its technical name is End-to-End Verifiable Voting Systems (with optional Homomorphic Encryption). It is explained in this Numberphile video from 2016, featuring Professor Ron Rivest, one of the creators of the widely used RSA encryption paradigm.