Re: Comments on EAC Glossary for Voting Systems

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 14:44:48 CDT

On Apr 7, 2005, at 2:04 AM, David Mertz wrote:

> The below is a completed draft of the invited public comments I would
> like to submit to NIST/EAC. I invite anyone reading this to join me
> in signing these comments, and provide me with relevant affiliations
> and titles for inclusion with their signature.
> I particularly encourage the people who have directly contributed
> content to join me in signing these comments: Ron Crane, David Webber,
> Alan Dechert, Jan Karrman, Joseph Hall, and Edward Cherlin. However,
> I also believe that Kurt Hyde of IEEE P-1622 and Arthur Keller of IEEE
> P-1583 would lend additional weight to these comments by their
> affiliations.
> ...

I endorse the draft, but would make the (mostly minor and
typographical) changes indicated by my comments below. For
affiliations, please include a note to the effect that "OVC and the
signers endorse these comments, but these comments do not necessarily
reflect the positions of the entities with which the signers are
affiliated." That said, include OVC and VSPR for me, and the title
"Ronald E. Crane, J.D."

> Portions of the remarks concern the clarity and consistency of the
> draft. For example, in certain cases, a term is used in one definition
> but defined in an inconsistent manner elsewhere. In general, these
> inconsistencies reflect your efforts to integrate materials from
> multiple sources, each using somewhat different terminology.

"appear to reflect" would be more diplomatic.

> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> -
> ABANDONED BALLOT: Ballot that the voter did not cast into the ballot
> box
> or record on a DRE before leaving the polling place. See also Fled
> Voter.
> Explanation: the wording of the draft is grammatically awkward; no
> substantial content change is proposed.

This definition doesn't cover non-electronic, non-paper ballots, such
as those recorded by mechanical voting machines. I would suggest
instead "Ballot that the voter did not cast before leaving the polling

> AUDIT TRAIL FOR DRE: Paper printout of votes cast, produced by Direct
> Record Electronic Voting Systems, which election officials may use to
> crosscheck electronically tabulated totals.
> Explanation: The term DRE was expanded in a fashion inconsistent with
> it definition elsewhere. Multiple usages of the same acronym exist
> in
> elections discussions, but this glossary should choose a consistent
> term.

Should be "inconsistent with its definition elsewhere". Also, is a
DRE's audit trail necessarily on paper?

> BALLOT INSTRUCTIONS: Text describing the procedure for voting a ballot.

"Text and/or graphics" would be more accurate. I'm never satisfied with
my own definitions, am I?

> ELECTRONIC BALLOT PRINTER (EBP): Device that prints Voter Verified
> Paper Ballots with selected vote with selected vote choices for
> tabulation by a separate Ballot Scanner.

Typo: "with selected vote" appears twice in a row.

> NONVOLATILE MEMORY: [delete "Static RAM" from the list of "example of
> nonvolatile memory" and replace with "Flash RAM"]
> Explanation: Unlike Dynamic RAM (DRAM), static RAM (SRAM) retains its
> contents without period refresh cycles. However, both forms of RAM
> lose their contents when disconnected from power. Flash RAM is
> nonvolatile, and has replaced ROMs, EPROMs, and EEPROMs in many
> (most?) applications.

Typos: the first instance of "Dynamic" shouldn't be capitalized, and
"period refresh" should be "periodic refresh".

> RANKED ORDER VOTING: Practice that allows voters to rank candidates in
> a context in order of choice: 1, 2, 3 and so on. Tabulation of ranked
> votes may be done by any of several methods, depending on
> jurisdictional
> rules. Well known tabulation methods include: Instant Runoff Voting
> (IRV) in which votes are reassigned over rounds of tabulation, until a
> majority is reached; Condorcet in which a total order is treated as a
> set of pairwise perference between candidates; Borda in which different
> ranks are worth different number of "points." Ranked order voting is
> also sometimes referred to as preferences, preferential voting, or
> choice voting.
> Association: voting
> Source: VSS, IEEE 1583, IEEE 1622

Typos: "perference" should be "preferences"; "number of 'points'"
should be "numbers of 'points'"; "preferences, preferential" should be
"preference, preferential".

> Explanation: Unfortunately, the draft version was just plain dead
> wrong....

Soften for diplomatic reasons.

> TOUCH SCREEN VOTING MACHINE: Machine that utilizes a computer scrfeen
> whereby a voter executes his or her choices by touching designated
> locations on the screen and that then registers those choices.

Typo: "scrfeen". Also, this definition is somewhat clunky. I'd suggest:

Machine that displays ballot choices on a video screen, and that
permits a voter to make her selections by touching designated locations
on that screen.

> TROJAN HORSE: A piece of software intended to (a) alter, or to permit
> the alteration of, the outcome of any election; or (b) release, or to
> permit the release of, non-public data concerning an election to a
> person not authorized to receive it. A Trojan Horse may alter the
> outcome of an election by modifying the presentation of information to
> the voter; by changing, adding, or deleting votes; by making it
> difficult or impossible to vote; or by any other means tending to
> achieve the desired outcome. A Trojan Horse may release non-public
> information concerning an election via networks, wireless devices,
> encoded printouts, or otherwise. See also Covert Channel, Security
> Analysis.
> Association: Security

Tweaking my own definition very slightly, "intended to (a) alter"
should read "intended (a) to alter"; "or (b) release" should read "or
(b) to release".

> Trusted Logic Voting (TLV): Creating Open Voting System approach and
> infrastructure that combines procedural needs, such as those detailed
> by
> the OASIS EML work and adopted by the European Council of Ministers,
> with a mathematical logic-based approach to ensure voting process
> integrity and underpinning.
> Association: Security
> Source: OASIS EML TC

The first clause is ungrammatical. I'm not quite sure what you mean.

> TRUSTED PERSON: A person who is authorized to create, modify, or
> otherwise handle a Voting System, a component of a Voting System (such
> as its software or hardware), and/or any portion of a Voting System's
> data. A vendor employee and an elections official may be trusted
> persons, while a voter is not. A person may be trusted to perform one
> function (e.g. the creation of a ballot form) but untrusted for others
> (e.g. the modification of a Voting System software).
> Association: Security

Typo: "vendor employee" should be "vendor's employee"; "Voting System
software)" should be "Voting System's software)".

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Received on Sat Apr 30 23:17:03 2005

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