Re: [OVC-discuss] Fwd: [Votingtech] Touchscreen Voting Machines Cause Long Lines and Disenfranchise Voters

From: Edward Cherlin <echerlin_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Tue Apr 28 2009 - 16:02:17 CDT

On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM, Earl Killian <> wrote:
> It seems to me that one wants
> (1) Human-markable paper ballots as the permanent record
> (2) A machine that verifies the correctness of the human-marked ballot on
> the spot before it is put in the box
> (3) A touchscreen machine that marks these paper ballots for people that
> prefer the touchscreen interface

This is certainly a possibility, since scanning on the spot can
correct for overvoting, undervoting, and stray marks. I personally
prefer a system that prevents these errors being made, rather than
correcting them afterwards. If we can mandate procedures, such as
public counting on the spot, to protect against ballot-box stuffing
and other common irregularities that occur in pure paper systems, you
might have something.

I definitely agree that we need a scanner to verify ballots between
marking and casting, regardless of the method of marking.

> The properties of such a system include the advantages of touchscreen, but
> with a remedy for long lines (voters can switch to hand marking if the line
> gets too long).

Contrary to the title of the paper cited, long lines are known to be
artifacts primarily of improper election procedures, not of voting
machines. This includes inadequate and improper testing, illegal
updates, deploying insufficient numbers of the most error-prone
machines in "opposition" precincts, and failing to have adequate
procedures for dealing with faults. The OVC proposal addresses all of
these points. Machines would be far less expensive, so many more could
be deployed, with substantial reserves. None would be significantly
better or worse, if properly maintained. Testing would be public, and
last-minute updates almost unknown, except in cases of urgent security

> It also reduces the error rate because of #2. The quantity
> of #2 is unlikely to be a limiting factor, as we're talking about using
> those machines for seconds rather than minutes.
> -Earl
> On Apr 19, 2009, at 9:37 AM, Brent Turner wrote:
>> This make sense except for the voter intent issues arising from letting
>> the
>> voter doodle errant markings-  and the lack of precision therein..
>> Sounds like the answer is to have more plentiful, less expensive ballot
>> marking systems  ( and perhaps early voting.... )   Brent
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> [] On
>> Behalf Of Arthur Keller
>> Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2009 12:17 AM
>> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
>> Subject: [OVC-discuss] Fwd: [Votingtech] Touchscreen Voting Machines Cause
>> Long Lines and Disenfranchise Voters
>> This article may be of interest to the design of an open voting system.
>> Best regards,
>> Arthur
>>> Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 22:48:59 -0400
>>> To:
>>> From: Dick Pratt <>
>>> Subject: [Votingtech] Touchscreen Voting Machines Cause Long Lines and
>>>        Disenfranchise Voters
>>> (Forwarded from TrueVote.)  Since this seems to be a scientific
>>> paper it should be of interest to this group.  --Dick Pratt
>>> [snip]
>>>>> ...Bill Edelstein, and his physicist son Arthur D. Edelstein have
>>>>> written a paper entitled, "Touchscreen Voting Machines Cause Long
>> Lines
>>>>> and Disenfranchise Voters."...  The abstract:
>>>>> Computerized touchscreen "Direct Recording Electronic" DRE voting
>> systems
>>>>> have been used by over 1/3 of American voters in recent elections. In
>> many
>>>>> places, insufficient DRE numbers in combination with lengthy ballots
>> and
>>>>> high voter traffic have caused long lines and disenfranchised voters
>> who
>>>>> left without voting. We have applied computer queuing simulation to the
>>>>> voting process and conclude that far more DREs, at great expense, would
>> be
>>>>> needed to keep waiting times low. Alternatively, paper ballot-optical
>> scan
>>>>> systems can be easily and economically scaled to prevent long lines and
>>>>> meet unexpected contingencies.
>>>>> (end of abstract)
>>> Draft paper available at:
>>>> <>
>>> [snip]

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Received on Thu Apr 30 23:17:05 2009

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