First draft of Stepping Stones -- Markamatic proposal. Please read and comment. Details are very negotiable but the concept is not!

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Wed Dec 08 2004 - 23:34:46 CST

Stepping Stones


To cross a stream, the simplest way is to step across a line of stones placed in the stream. Similarly to vastly improve the US voting system we need to do this a step at a time.


The Markamatic Proposal


Proposed: Focus on developing the Markamatic with the idea of sending it our for certification on July 4, 2005. Build the rest of the system after and around that.




After the 2000 election it was obvious that current voting technologies needed to be updated. The OVC (Open Voting Consortium) created an preliminary demonstration Ballot Printing system that worked well enough to encourage more development. A thorough end to end system was visualized and worked out over the last year or two. This system as I understand it consists of the following basic components.


  1.. The Registron: This is a computer aided voter registration and verification system. There would be a main system at each county registrar's office in communication with the Secretary of State's office and self contained clients that would be taken to each polling place on election day. <This could be used to make tokens that can actuate the Markamatic especially during primaries.>
  2.. The Butterfly ballot killer: A user friendly computer aided design system that would automatically design a machine readable paper ballot that would be transmitted to a main software generator. This software would integrate and seal the OVC system and the ballot design together and publish both on one CD.
  3.. The Markamatic: This is a touch screen voting system and ballot printer with multilingual capabilities, ADA compliance sub-modules that would run on commodity PC's from a CD. One for every 100 or so expected voters.
  4.. The ballot checker: After the ballot is printed, the voter could verify that the printed ballot read as voted. These would be VII compliant with headphones. One at each polling place.
  5.. An optical ballot scanner. These already exist. For now, we'll use the existing ones..
  6.. The polling place canvassing/auditing system. This would walk poll workers through the steps of canvassing each vote, check counts, and otherwise audit the voting count.
  7.. Computer aided vote aggregation, summation and report generation at the County registrar's office that would also report to the Secretary of State's office.

The problem:


Development of this is taking just a little bit longer than was originally conceived. As a matter of fact, the whole system could take years to develop. Responsible people in several states are begging us to make our system available right away. We've got definite focus and cash flow problems. In addition, OVC members are getting frustrated.


A number of States are going to be deciding on voting technologies soon because of the ripple effects of the 2004 election controversies and the availability of HAVA money.


The Markamatic Product (Item 3)


  1.. A touch screen voting system similar to current DRE's
  2.. A commodity PC, preferably new
  3.. Software and ballot data run from a CD and in computer memory only
  4.. Pop up, on screen keyboard for provisional ballots and write in candidates
  5.. Secure Linux OS (Linux Lock Box) certified and open source.
  6.. Ballot printing with bar code summaries and optical scan registration marks on consumer grade printers
  7.. ADA compliance as good if not better than DRE's.
  8.. Capable of integrating with future OVC systems. Capable of working with common token readers for primaries
  9.. Back up power supply.
  10.. Your points.

The Markamatic is available in desk top and lap top packages. <I recommend the lap top for when a Markamatic has to be taken to a disabled voter. You would need one per polling place.>


Problems and solutions:


  a.. What about the other components of the full OVC system? There are real problems with these items in the voting process.
    a.. The voter registration process is clearly broken. However the solution is clearly a robust, user friendly data base system with optional web interface. This is not as challenging a problem as the Markamatic.
    b.. The butterfly ballot killer. No will argue that ballot design isn't a problem. However, it's not as dire a problem as the one solved by the Markamatic.
    c.. The ballot reader / verifier. This interfaces with the Markamatic via the printed ballot. There has to be a ballot to verify first. Hence, do the Markamatic first.
    d.. The polling place canvassing system: Similar answer as the ballot reader.
    e.. The ballot aggregator/report system. Needed but we have hardly begun to conceptualize this product. Besides it needs the ballot reader which needs the Markamatic
  b.. Are there advantages to this proposal?
    a.. People would get used to ballots with bar codes.
    b.. We can leverage our reputation on this
    c.. Cash flow will increase.
    d.. We've solved what the public perceives as the problem.
    e.. Registrars would love to not have to print and supply ballots and deal with hand written provisional ballots. This could be a real sales point.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy
10777 Bendigo Cove
San Diego, CA 92126-2510
"Let us all tend to our gardens."  Candide - Voltaire

OVC discuss mailing lists
Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:08 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Dec 31 2004 - 23:17:22 CST