Re: Outline of NSF Proposal to Digital Government initiative

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Apr 18 2005 - 20:41:49 CDT

FYI, in obtaining information about "undervotes" be sure to get the
precise definition of "undervote" that pertains to that equipment and
that jurisdiction. I believe that San Diego uses Diebold equipment.


21. What is an undervote? Most people think that an undervote is a race
for which no vote is cast. However, Diebold uses a different definition,
which allows their undervote rate to be much lower.

When Diebold counts undervotes, they only count races in which voters
can select multiple candidates to fill multiple offices, and then only
if the voter failed to select the maximum number of candidates allowed.
Using this definition, a race for President would never have undervotes.
Diebold refers to an unrecorded choice in
such a race as a "blank vote" -- not an "undervote."

So if someone claims that DREs have fewer "undervotes" than other
systems, this may mean nothing. What should be asked is whether they
mean "undervotes" or "blank votes", since the terminology may not be

1. From GEMS User Guide Revision 3, Version 1.17.15; July 3, 2001, Glossary:
"Undervoted Race: A race with less candidates selected than the number
to vote for; cannot be a vote for 1 race."

2. Op cit. Pg. 2-61 in the AccuVote-OS (Op Scan) Options section:
"Undervotes apply only to races with a number to vote for greater than 1
- an unvoted race with number to vote for 1 is considered blank voted."

3. From Diebold Election Systems Election Support Guide, Revision 1.0,
Oct. 21, 2002: Section 5 "Election Day"
[Applies to both OS and TS (Touch Screen/DRE)]
"Remember that 'undervoting' in industry is generally considered to be
no candidate selection or less candidates selected than the number to
vote for, while we consider undervoting to be the latter only."

Edmund R. Kennedy wrote:

>Hello Arthur:
>I would be happy to try and get data from the San
>Diego County Registrar of Voters. No, I do not need
>to be paid although I would like out of pocket costs
>such as copying reimbursed. Please let me know when
>you have worked out a schedule and a list of
>questions. I have been working on a list of questions
>with Kathy Dopp for and I will try
>and forward this information to you if she is not able
>to participate.
>However, her list (with my additions) appear to
>include a by precinct listing of:
>1. Votes by candidate or initiative.
>2. Number of people attemting to vote (provisional
>3. Over/under votes
>4. I would assume spoiled ballots
>5. Voting technology used (including age of
>6. Problems reported.
>I can see by your basic proposal that this information
>may be generally tangential to your line of inquiry
>except for items 5 and 6. Items 1-4 may be suitable
>for studying outcomes.
>Thanks, Edmund R. Kennedy, PE
>--- Arthur Keller <> wrote:
>>Dear Friends,
>>There is an opportunity to apply for funding to NSF
>>for the Digital
>>Government initiative under NSF 05-551.
>>I am planning to write such a proposal. Your
>>feedback is welcome.
>>It's due Thursday, May 5th.
>>Vote: Voting Operations Technology Evaluation
>>1. Analysis of Voting System equipment processes
>>(e.g., Joe Hall's
>>work on Activity Model for Sequoia AVC Edge w/
>>* Outcome: Activity Model for various voting systems
>>2. Analysis of Voting System procedures manuals
>>3. Analysis of "county" processes (e.g., working
>>with election
>>officials) for precinct-based and central operations
>>* Outcome of 2 and 3: Activity Models, Threat
>>Analyses, Best
>>Practices document, Election Rules database)
>>Scope includes polling place voting systems,
>>absentee ballots,
>>provisional ballots, central ("county") canvassing
>>Please let me know if you would like to collaborate
>>on this proposal
>>and, if funded, on the effort (as an paid or unpaid
>>Best regards,
>>Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto,
>>CA 94303-4507
>>tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
>>OVC discuss mailing lists
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Received on Sat Apr 30 23:17:10 2005

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