RE: Keeping 'em the booth until the printer is d one

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Thu Dec 04 2003 - 14:48:37 CST

I can think of two ways to tackle this, technology and process.

One thing that the technology can do is to play a spoken reminder to take
your ballot and put it into the ballot box. I'm usually not a fan of such
things (as they're overused and annoying), but forgetting to put your ballot
in the box would defeat the entire system, so it's probably a reasonable
reminder. I suspect that a typical on-screen display will not be noticed (or
be ignored) fairly often.

The staff at the polling booth can be trained to make sure that each person
who leaves the booth has their ballot, and to make sure that there are no
ballots left in the booths after each person leaves. This isn't unreasonable
-- they have to check mechanical voting machines to make sure that the
lever's been pulled and the machine reset between each voter. I suspect that
this would be more effective than anything that we could do in software
using standard hardware.

I've captured this email so that we can add it to the FAQ.

- LP

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Alan
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] Keeping 'em the booth until the printer is


> Do we have any idea how to keep people from leaving the booth before
> the ballot is printed?
> I can imagine lots of folks who will push the last button and think "I'm
> done" and simply leave while the printer is still warming up.
There is no escaping the fact that this system will require a little voter
training. It's pretty simple though.

"You print the ballot. That's where you vote is. If you want to vote, you
have to take the piece of paper and put it in the ballot box."

We can never totally eliminate the requirement for some level of competency.
The goal should be to make the bar as low as possible, and it should be
uniform. That is, there is not way to justify a system where it's harder to
vote in one county as opposed to the other. We have to recognize that the
bar is there.

> I suspect that the GUI will need to somehow tell people to wait both at
> the beginning and at the end.
The instructions should be clear, yes.

> I wonder if we could rig up a red/green light on the inside of the booth
> or whether that would be silly.
I thought of that -- perhaps for a slightly different reason. I wanted some
indication that the voter had printed the ballot so that pollworkers could
notice if someone is printing ballots over and over. It would not cause
tabulation problems but would be generally disruptive to the process if
voters made multiple prints. For example, I have suggested that the
instructions be clear that if the voter wants to re-do the ballot, they
should exit the voting booth to have the ballot destroyed.

I don't think we can decide on this right now. We need a study to look at
this -- both simulated voting and real world -- to see if voter training
will be adequate to cover this issue. My inclination would be to leave this
red/green light out until the need for it is really demonstrable.

> And how do we procedurally notice and handle ballots that are left in the
> printer? Do we inspect the printer after every voter? I don't think
> there are any inexpensive printers with sensors in the output bin.
Again, people have to understand some very simple principles to use this
system. Wanna vote? You have to put your completed ballot in the ballot
box. I think this is pretty intuitive for most people. I don't see a big
learning curve here.

Anyway, you have posed several Frequently Asked Questions here. Maybe you
and/or Laird could break them out for processing.

Alan D.

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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:04 2003

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