Re: Left off the ballot?

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Tue Apr 13 2004 - 15:14:27 CDT

On Apr 13, 2004, at 3:46 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
> Voter X returns from the polling place slightly confused. She thought
> that
> Jane Smith was the supervisorial candidate for her district. Voter X
> voted
> for someone else because didn't see Jane Smith on the ballot.

The most straightforward approach is to produce a PAPER guide to what
should appear on the GUI ballot. In most jurisdictions, something like
this is available in advance, and is mandated by law to be so (either
mailed to residences or available in a public place). Certainly guides
should be available in the common area of polling places.

Perhaps the guide is essentially a screenshot of the ballot GUI; but a
different arrangement might be fine too. Such guides typically have
more details about ballot initiatives (and sometimes about candidates)
than what appears on the ballot itself. If a voter feels that her GUI
screen doesn't match the ballot options she had access to in advance,
she should complain to a poll worker. If she convinces the poll
worker, that's obviously a sign of some sort of malfunction or error.
This isn't really different from a complaint about a crashed machine,
mis-calibrated touchscreen, jammed printer, or the like. If no
complaint is made, my feeling is it is fair to disregard a retroactive
complaint (and I tend to think a court wold agree... what do the
lawyers here think?).

Having the EVMix CD that *should* produce the correct ballot screen is
LESS convincing to my mind. I know software is *supposed to be*
deterministic--but in practice, we all know that glitches are not
always easily reproducible. Even if we boot from CD, it's conceivable
that some error is sensitive to a weird timing issue, memory failure,
or the like: i.e. something not uniformly duplicatable. Concretely, it
is REALLY unlikely within our software design that the timing of a CD
read head is going to delete just Jane Smith from the ballot... but we
cannot rule that out as impossible.
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:05 2004

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