Re: Vote Handling

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sun Dec 14 2003 - 15:40:16 CST

At 12:00 PM -0800 12/14/03, Alan Dechert wrote:
>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.

1. How do you ensure that only one ballot is placed in the folder?
2. How do you ensure that there isn't extra ballot stock misused in some way?

I think we need to consider various contingencies and evaluate them,
and not merely wait for some undefined failure.

>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.

Most printers have a manual feed input tray.
And according to my scheme, the paper could go in any way it would
fit. Up, down, upside down (either way), but in all cases the short
way. The long way wouldn't fit.

> > 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.

These are additional ways to ensure correctness over the "simpler approach."

>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.

It's fine to go with an existing process. But it's not fine to avoid
thinking about potential threats and to consider how to ameliorate

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
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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:11 2003

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