Here's why votes can never have an electronic form: they must be human-readable. If they are only machine-readable, then only the people who run the machines know what they are.
Have you ever wondered why big state lotteries pick their numbers on live television with big ping-pong ball blowers? It's not because it makes good theater and they like to show a pretty Vanna clone. It's because with millions of dollars on the line, they have to demonstrate to one and all that the thing is not rigged. They even have the Vanna clone touch the ball so that you know the ball in the close-up frame is the same one as the ball in the machine. The path from the blower to where the ball lands is transparent so that you know it's the same ball and not some preselected ball coming out of nowhere. They count out the balls in public (though not on TV, usually) so you know all the numbers are there. They even have multiple sets of balls, one of which is chosen at random.
Now imagine that the number are chosen instead in the dead of night by a computer run my five guys with scruffy beards. Now imagine five guys wish scruffy beards sunning themselves in Vanuatu with their pay-off money in a numbered account. They may or may not have mai-tais. (And yes, this means that computer slots and video poker machines are probably rigged.)
If someone hands me a smartcard and says "your vote is encrypted here and the public key validates it," they might as well be saying "narf uznook trom ellybelly." I can't validate what the ballot says, and neither can most people. (Well, I probably could, but most people couldn't.)
I want paper ballots counted by hand, in public, at the polling place. If they can't be at the polling place, I want partisan or non-partisan observers with them whenever they are transported. If they can't all be counted by hand, I want a random sample counted by hand (and the precincts to be sampled should be chosen by ping-pong ball & Vanna clone). If they can't be counted in complete public, I want partisan observers present. (BTW, what do you think UN election observers do, anyway?) I'd like them counted on live television, but videotaping the proceedings is probably okay. If you want a fancy-shmancy ATM-style touch screen humdinger to fill in the little ovals for you, that's fine by me. Just as long as it's you putting the paper in the box.
Anything less means handing the election to some guy saying "Trust me, I'm with the goverment. I mean, with Diebold. Well, one of them, anyway."
And if we can't get enough volunteers to do the observing and counting, then our democracy is already sunk.
--Melissa O, at 23:18