The answer: paper 3 of 3

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 14:45:11 CDT

One approach to a DRE with an accessible (to the vision-impaired)
Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail.

1. A touch-screen ballot marking machine that has keypad input and
audio output for the vision impaired. It prints a paper ballot with
the voter's selected choices. The paper ballot is printed in two
languages (English and the voter's selected choice; if the voter's
selected choice was English, then the second language is randomly
selected), with machine-readable encodings of the selections, and with
bar coded phonetic encodings of the selections in each of the two
languages. (The reason for always printing two languages is so that a
ballot cannot be traced back to the voter in the case that only one
voter in a precinct requests a particular foreign-language ballot.)

2. A non-vision-impaired voter takes the ballot, examines it, and
decides if it correctly reflects their intent or not. If not, the
voter takes it to a polling official, who treats it as a spoiled
ballot, and reactivates the voter's vote card so the voter can try
again. (According to California law, you get three tries to cast a
valid ballot.)

3. If the non-vision-impaired voter decides that the ballot does
correctly reflect their intent, s/he places the ballot into a ballot

4. A vision-impaired voter (VIV) takes the ballot and dons headphones
connected to a hand-held bar-code scanner. They use the scanner to
verify that the ballot correctly reflects their intent. If not, they
return it to the polling official as in (2). If so, they put it into
the ballot box as in (3).

5. As part of the (California-law-required) one-percent manual tally,
the elections official verifies that all five versions of the voter's
choices (printed English, printed second language, phonetic bar-coded
English, phonetic bar-coded second language, and machine-readable
encodings) indicate the same choices.

Alternatively, instead of a hand-held bar-code scanner, there could be
a second machine, with headphones and a keypad, that reads the ballot
back to the VIV (using the machine-readable encodings, allowing the
voter to select the language desired) and asks the voter if the ballot
correctly reflects their intent. If not, the machine returns the
ballot marked "spoiled". If so, the machine keeps the ballot. This
same machine can also serve as the ballot box used by a
non-vision-impaired voter who uses a visual display (touch screen) to
approve or reject the ballot. In this case, there would only be three
versions of the voter's choices (printed English, printed second
language, and machine-readable encodings) to compare during the
one-percent manual tally.

[The author is a software engineer with over thirty years of experience
in the computer field. He currently works with hardware engineers who
are designing new machines, advising them in the areas of reliability,
availability, and serviceability (RAS). His area of expertise is the
interface between hardware and software, especially in the area of
injection, detection, correction, and prevention of hardware errors by

--Steve Chessin
1426 Lloyd Way, Mountain View, CA 94040
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:27 2004

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