RE: Left off the ballot?

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Tue Apr 13 2004 - 18:20:46 CDT

"How would other systems fare in this situation?"

For a mechanical voting booth (like the one I just voted in) the answer is
that everyone sees the same mechanical levers, so we don't believe one
candidate would disappear on a machine for one voter.

For a punch card ballot, similarly, all machines have printed flip cards
attached to the machines that you flip through to know where to punch votes,
and the cards arent going to change for one voter. Hopefully they have
mechanisms to prevent people from swapping in your own flip cards.

For a touchscreen system, there's no way to directly prove that the screen
display was correct, because it's under software control. But you can
"prove" it indirectly. For example, perhaps this would work: if the system
runs the same software all day (from ROM, CD, etc.), the software is
archived when the polls close, and the sequence of votes is recorded and
archived, then it should be possible to "replay" the day and show that the
machine always showed the correct thing on the screen (or not).

This is an interesting argument for a non-display system, or a mixture of
printing and display. Imagine that the ballot is printed on paper, layered
over the screen. Your votes would be recorded and displayed by the screen,
but the things you vote on would be on the paper. This is pretty weird, but
would address the issue of not trusting the displayed ballot.

A better answer would be to provide a printed voter's guide, as a number of
others have suggested, taped to the wall behind the voting station, with a
large sign reading "If your ballot does not match this, or you have any
questions, please tell a poll worker".

- LP

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Alan
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 3:46 PM
To:; ovc demo
Subject: [voting-project] Left off the ballot?

One positive aspect of the opt-scan paper ballot is that all of the choices
you didn't make appear along with the ones you did make.

Consider the following scenario:

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. Voter X
assumed that she was mistaken about the district. But after arriving at
home, she looked up her district and found that Jane Smith was supposed to
be on the ballot.

The next day, it turned out that Jane Smith lost by one vote. Voter X is
outraged and demands the election result be voided.

How can election officials confirm or refute Voter X's claim that Jane Smith
was not on the ballot?

Having a voter verified paper ballot that only shows the candidates selected
does not solve this problem (same can be said of a DRE "receipt"... whatever
that is).

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, and we'll be able to exactly replicate the presentation
of choices. (witnesses verify insertion of the CD before voting begins and
removal of the CD when the polls close).

Can we feel confident that this "irrefutable proof" would withstand any
challenge in court? How would other systems fare in this situation?

Alan D.

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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:05 2004

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