Re: Vote Handling

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Sun Dec 14 2003 - 14:00:24 CST


> There is more risk of jamming with this approach, ....

> but much better control over the voting stock to eliminate multiple
> votes from the same person or use of substitute ballot stock. ...
Maybe. There are pros and cons. Your proposal may be a partial solution to
a problem that doesn't exist. It might give "better control" as you say,
but your approach would introduce several other problems and additional
rigmarole for the voters and pollworkers.

You have identified a soft spot in the administration of the system I have
outlined: namely, the point at which the ballot is placed in the ballot box.
Recognizing this soft spot, I included in the "What the Demo Will
Demonstrate" document, a procedure for placing the ballot in the ballot box.
See #8 here:

More generally, I'd say we should develop this ballot depositing procedure
as necessary to ensure that only one ballot is deposited from a given voter.
It may be that we will need two witnesses standing at the ballot box. My
feeling is that we should work with this procedure until we are satisfied
that it will or will not work. No testing has been done with this yet so we
really have no data. We're in no position to abandon this approach until
it's been shown to be unworkable. We haven't tested it so we don't really
know. You are trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist right now. You
are speculating that it will be a problem. Maybe it will and maybe it
won't. It might be that some other yet unthought of mechanical means will
solve the problem.

As outlined, the proposed OVC voting procedure is very simple: you check in
with the pollworker, go to a voting booth, make your selections and print
your ballot. Then you take that to the ballot box (staffed at all times,
perhaps with two or more people) and the ballot is deposited -- slid face
down from the privacy folder by the pollworker witnessed by the voter and
perhaps one or more other pollworkers.

The worst part of your proposed addition is that it adds the step of the
voter having to load the single sheet into the printer. Most people won't
know how to do that. The procedure may differ from printer to printer.
Pollworkers may not be comfortable doing it. What if you get it upside
down? Or turned the wrong way? It's simple if you know how to do it but my
guess is that it would be stupendously cumbersome. It would not rule it
out, but it would take extensive testing before you could make any claim
that it is better.

> It also allows for reconciliation of blank ballot stock, spoiled
> ballots, and actual votes placed in the ballot box.
We have a ballot reconciliation procedure, which I have outlined in some
detail. It's not clear that we need to care anything about blank ballot
stock. If we do say we care about blank ballot stock, you've introduced
another election administration issue with multiple procedures for "how to
handle situations where you have unaccounted for ballot stock." There will
be additional procedures for printing and securing your serialized ballot
stock. There would be new threats related to counterfeit ballot stock.

All of this implies a tremendous amount of testing. I'm inclined to go with
the existing simpler procedure until it's been shown not to work.

--Alan D.
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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:11 2003

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