Re: Ballots for elections with many races FOCUS IS NEEDED.

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Tue Apr 27 2004 - 22:30:04 CDT

Hello All:

    I am getting a little out of focus on what is needed and by when. Is
the OVC standards going to try and be all things to all people in all
nations? Are we just focusing on replacing the DRE machines in the State of
California? Should ballot considerations in Illinois matter now? How about
balloting schemes in England? I'm concerned that there seems to be an awful
lot to do without a lot of structure or any sort of schedule that has been
clearly articulated. Perhaps it's down in the archives somewhere but this
discussion about ballot issues in Illinois brings these issues to my

A Modest Proposal:


1. Many of us live in California. (Yes I know this is chauvinistic and
provincial with contributors from around the world.)
2. California has clear and documented problems with DRE's.
3. It has recently decertified portions of one major DRE system.
4. It's possible that substantial funds and resources could be made
available both from the California Secretary of State's office and the
University of California.
5. It's 6 months and 4 days until the next election.
6. A demonstration system has been demonstrated with positive reaction in
the County of Santa Cruz. (For the record, I live in the County of San


Development of the Open Voting system needs to proceed on multiple tracks.
To stimulate discussion on these issues I propose the following.

7. One track is to proceed with the over all development of the hardware
and software specifications along with human factor engineering and review.
This would be aimed toward providing a largely agreed upon framework for
systems to be built first for the State of California and then set up for
the California elections in 2006. The suggestion that this would be
provided by private section companies is to be reasonably accommodated here.

8. In the County of Santa Cruz, there should be a pilot program for actual
voting machines running actual open source code in one or more precincts for
the Nov. 2004 elections. These would have to be certified on a more or less
crash basis by the Secretary of State. As ballots would actually be
generated, this might be more acceptable to the Secretary of State's office
than limping along with Diebold DRE's.

9. After the large scale testing of the California elections of 2006,
lessons learned could be applied to specifications and the system expanded
to accommodate other interested states and nations. Obviously there would
be a more or less infinite feedback loop of improvements and modifications
over time.

10. These suggested dates are not meant to rule out other US States using
systems developed to Open Voting Standards at some earlier times. Nor are
they meant to lock smaller scale pilot projects just to Santa Cruz,
California. However, ones does have to start somewhere.

I look forward to hearing your responses.

    Thanks, Ed Kennedy

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Chessin" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] Ballots for elections with many races

> >From Tue Apr 27 15:24:28 2004
> >Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 15:24:14 -0700
> >To:
> >From: Arthur Keller <>
> >Subject: Re: [voting-project] Ballots for elections with many races
> >Cc:,
> >>>But I don't see how 100 Judicial Confidence votes can fit on one
> >>>piece of paper. Maybe with a really small font. Or a creative use
> >>>of space that e.g. groups together the Yes, No, and No Preference
> >>>Judges within different boxes on the ballot. But overly creative
> >>>typography and layout makes voter verification less simple and
> >>>reliable. So do we just spill over to as many pages as are needed?
> >>>Is it legal to only record the relatively rare "No confidence"
> >>>votes, and just leave off the usual "Yes" or "No Preference" votes?
> >>>
> >>>What does the wisdom of the OVC opine on this matter?
> >Oops, I misread this. The printed ballot should fit on one page; the
> >user interface need not. Too little sleep.
> The printed ballot need not fit on one page, unless the jurisdiction
> has a law that requires it (in which case they may need to amend their
> law to keep pace with technology).
> Multiple pages for ballots (or equivalent) are not unheard of.
> I believe DataVote punch cards (still certified for use in California)
> can use both sides of the card (since the punches are made only near
> one edge of the card as it faces the voter, not all over the surface).
> Some optical scan machines can use both sides of the scan sheet, and
> have for some elections. (I think this was the case in the March
> primary for Contra Costa County, California.)
> Multiple cards and sheets have been needed in some elections.
> As long as you say something like "CONTINUED ON OTHER SIDE" and "CONTINUED
> ON NEXT PAGE" in a large enough font on the bottom of odd/even pages,
> respectively, or "PAGE <n> of <m>", you should be okay.
> The bar code could just encode the races on that page, as well as
> encoding "please scan next page for more races". (This will help the
> Election Office staff who do the random spot-checks when they are
> checking that the bar code audio matches the printing.)
> You should use (or at least support) printers that can print both sides
> of the page. A bit more in capital expense, but they'll reduce the
> continuing cost, especially for whoever gets them next (when they're
> more likely to be used for multi-page documents).
> For those of you who live in California, go to
> and, if your county has a red
> star next to it, click on your county, and enter your address and
> party registration. See if your choices would have fit on one page.
> For my ballot, I'd have these showing:
> President: one choice
> U.S. Senator: one choice
> Representative: one choice
> State Senator: one choice
> Assemblymember: one choice
> County Committee: six choices
> Judge office 7: one choice
> Judge office 18: one choice
> County Supervisor: one choice
> Water District: one choice
> Prop 55: yes/no/(no vote)
> Prop 56: yes/no/(no vote)
> Prop 57: yes/no/(no vote)
> Prop 58: yes/no/(no vote)
> Measure 2: yes/no/(no vote)
> Measure A: yes/no/(no vote)
> for a total of 21 selections.
> This would easily fit on one page. You'd need to research the most
> races on a ballot. (Take a large city like San Francisco that has many
> local ballot measures, and used to elect their board of supervisors at
> large.)
> --Steve
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:20 2004

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