Re: Left off the ballot?

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 13:43:00 CDT

On Apr 14, 2004, at 11:03 AM, David Jefferson wrote:

> (1) Leaving candidate choices off of the ballot presented to the
> voter--exactly the issue under discussion here.
> (2) Leaving whole propositions off of the ballot (variation of (1)
> above ).

Of course, if the verified paper copy contains all the candidates and
even those for whom the voter didn't vote (as in optical mark-sense
the evidence of omission is there for the voter to notice when
inspecting the
ballot before hitting accept or reject, and it is there to be noticed
the paper is tabulated. This argues for not using an abbreviated
version of
the ballot for voter verification, despite the increase in paper
and despite the increased load on the printer.

> (3) Improper randomization or rotation of the ballot, so as to put a
> favored candidate at or near the top of the list much more often than
> he or she is entitled to. (No voter, looking at only one ballot on
> screen, can observe this statistical bias.)

Where applicable. Florida, for example, puts the party that won the
statewide election first, giving an automatic boost to the incumbants,
yes, voter verification doesn't check the rotation.

> (4) Modification of the wording.

Publication of the ballot for the district, for example, in the
except in california, where it's distributed in the form of a thick
book, is the primary tool allowing voters to audit the wording and
layout for
the election, but this only works if:

   [1] the sample ballot is portable and convenient enough to bring to
      polling place.

   [2] the presentation on the screen is comparable to the presentation
      print. Many DRE systems make this nearly impossible.

   [3] rotation is rare enough that the sample ballots published will
      those in the voting booth. If rotation is random in real time, or
      rotation is random from machine to machine in a polling place,
this can't
      work. If rotation varies from one precinct to the next,
publication of
      sample ballots in the newspaper won't work, but direct mail can
work, but
      the printing costs and bulk mail complexity will be a monster. If
      rotation is done county by county, then the hard copy the voter
      to the polls can trivially reflect the reality on the ballot.

      This is an example where state law can seriously interfere with

> (5) Violation of privacy: a specific touch sequence on the screen
> might present a list IN THE ORDER CAST of all of the votes cast on the
> machine this day.

Indeed. Voter verified paper trails clearly do not end the need for
code audits and open software!

                        Doug Jones
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:07 2004

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