Re: Left off the ballot?

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Tue Apr 13 2004 - 16:58:28 CDT

No solution can be 100% perfect.

If you have "another, more dense, machine readable area that would
represent the entire ballot", but the voter doesn't verify it, or have
a way to verify it, you're back to square one. You don't know that
the paper record corresponds to the machine image. And asking the voter
to verify not just who they voted for, but also the names they saw that
they could have voted for, is probably asking too much.

The right solution is what David Mertz said:
1. The jurisdiction should provide each voter a sample ballot, so that
they know what to expect when they get to the voting booth. (This is
the law in California, where I live.) (Also, if all else fails, the
pages in the sample ballot can be ripped out, marked by the voter, and

2. The voter should verify that the sample ballot contains all the
candidates that they want to vote for, prior to the election, and
resolve any discrepencies (call the candidate, call the RoV's office,
call the League of Women Voters, call the newspapers, ...)

[Some Leagues use, which will display your entire ballot
once you give it your address. Other Leagues use, which
doesn't go as far down as smartvoter does.]

3. The voter should verify that the voting machine displays all the candidates
that they want to vote for, and complain to the pollworker if they don't.

4. The voter should verify that the printed ballot contains the names of
all the candidates that they voted for.

BTW, the scenario of names being left off actually happened, when
voters were given cards activated with the wrong precinct information.
(I forget which California county this was in; San Diego? LA?) Some
voters complained *before* they cast their ballot, but many only
complained afterwards.

--Steve Chessin (a newbie to this list)

>From Tue Apr 13 14:39:25 2004
>Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 14:39:06 -0700
>From: Bob Ramstad <>
>User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030624 Netscape/7.1 (ax)
>CC: ovc demo <>
>Subject: Re: [voting-project] Left off the ballot?
>The barcode is a machine readable version of the voting selections the
>person made.
>Would it be appropriate to add another, more dense, machine readable
>area that would represent the entire ballot i.e. each position on the
>ballot and all available choices for each position? Obviously this
>would only be accessed in certain very specific situations -- like a
>challenge -- and so the equipment required to verify this data could be
>more complicated than the simple barcode reader used for reading votes.
>In short, given that the software has a ballot configuration file, and
>records each vote -- and the assumption is that all votes were all
>generated from the same ballot file -- it seems to me that the paper
>ballot should really reproduce both the vote for that person and the
>ballot configuration file used.
>(For those who don't recognize my email address, it's because I was just
>added recently... I'm a software engineer by training living in Seattle
>with a broad interest in what the OVC is doing, and a desire to help in
>any way I can.)
>-- Bob
>Karl Auerbach wrote:
>>>The OVC system can and must stand up to this challenge. We can confirm what
>>>the voter saw or didn't see because we have the CD from which the voting
>>>machine was booted...
>>It is quite easy for there to be glitches into code that don't show up
>>until after the software has been running for 6 hours and after 100 people
>>have voted. Such glitches could be intentional, but things like memory
>>leaks and counter overruns are often triggers that don't occur until a
>>chunk of software has been running for a while.
>> --karl--
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:05 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Apr 30 2004 - 23:17:29 CDT