Re: Question re ballot limitations - Automark vs. Punch-card Ballots

From: Kathy Dopp <kathy_at_uscountvotes_dot_org>
Date: Mon Apr 25 2005 - 21:19:44 CDT

FYI, Here is a copy (below) of a press release I sent out today in Utah
to dispel the misinformation being spread about Op Scan ballots used by
AutoMARK. I removed the contact information for statisticians and
computer scientists available for comment, so if you need those, please
email me.

And Good News in Utah:

County Commissioner(s) in Utah county have publicly said that they do
not want to go along with the Utah Election office plan for state-wide
DRE voting machines.

WHO: Utah Count Votes' and US Count Votes' Joint Press Release
DATE: Monday, April 25, 2005

TITLE: Utah's Proposed Electronic Voting Deemed Risky, But At Least
It's More Expensive!

SUB-TITLE: Questions that the press could ask about Utah's voting
equipment selection process, if they aim to do unbiased reporting and
help preserve democracy:


Why did the Utah Election Office and Utah newspapers neglect to inform
Utahns that there is a lower cost bid for an optical scan paper ballot
voting system that is endorsed by the National Federation of the Blind?
The AutoMARK optical scan paper ballot system costs millions of dollars
less state-wide than DRE electronic ballot voting machines, and meets
Help America Vote Act requirements for persons with disabilities to vote

Why was the bid for the AutoMARK op scan paper ballot voting system kept
secret from the press and the public (except those who happen to notice
it at the Mock Election)? Why was the Utah press void of any comparison
analysis of the pricing and specifications about the AutoMARK paper
ballot versus the more expensive DRE electronic ballot voting systems?

At the March 30th Mock Election, why were persons who arrived after 4 or
5 p.m. not permitted to give their input on voting equipment and told
that ample surveys had already been filled out?

Why were rumors spread amongst Utah's Voting Equipment Selection
Committee that the 19" x 8.5" AutoMARK Op Scan paper ballot cannot
handle as many races and issues as the old punch card system did for
Salt Lake County, and without allowing the vendor an opportunity to know
about or refute these false rumors? Yet, the largest punch-card system
allows for 228 punch-holes maximum, and the AutoMARK bid for Utah
handles a two-sided ballot up to 19" long, provides 300 lines with a
larger font-size and can be adjusted to handle more with smaller fonts
and a tear off instruction tab. The reading impaired may use large font
on the touch-screen, head sets, and Braille to print their ballots.

Approximately 97% of America's votes are counted mechanically or
electronically, by systems that are not audited for accuracy. We would
not dream of putting our money into a bank that did not guard from
inside embezzlers by conducting independent audits, so why do we deposit
our votes anonymously using electronic vote counting systems that we do
not audit for accuracy? America's statisticians are calling for
independent audits of our vote counts because the numbers are screaming
at us that America's votes may be being embezzled. After all, why not
embezzle the votes when American computer scientists inform us that
electronic manipulations of vote counts might leave no evidence and
cannot be detected or corrected without independently auditing a paper
copy of votes?

Kathy Dopp, Utah Count Votes, founder, US Count Votes, President

Please contact any of the following computer scientists or statisticians
to verify the concepts in this press release. They are not necessary
familiar with Utah's situation and do not necessarily endorse every
statement in this press release but are a good resource:

Bruce O'Dell, US Count Votes, VP and Computer Security Consultant
Phillip Windley, Ph.D. Computer Scientist, Brigham Young University
Paul Velleman, Ph. D. Statistical Studies, Cornell University
Ron Baiman, Ph.D. Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois
Josh Mitteldorf, Ph.D. Temple University Statistics Department
Richard Sheehan, Ph.D. Finance Dept. University of Notre Dame
Alan Dechert, Open Voting Consortium, President

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Received on Sat Apr 30 23:17:14 2005

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