Re: Ballot Validation and voting machine initializtion

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Tue Dec 14 2004 - 10:26:07 CST

Hello Jim:
     You are apparently assuming that we would want to use the hard drive on the Markamatic. If I understand the design, we most certainly do not want to use the hard drive for security reasons. The computer will run from a CD rom (like Knoppix does) and/or a memory stick.
I can easily see the 'Registron' having the entire state's voting registration on a DVD. I kind of had in mind that the Registron would write voting permission and party affiliations to a token. Then the voter would start up the Markamatic with the token handed them. Yes, that might be something that could be done with a dumb token. I had been thinking that the information that a provisional voter normally has to enter by hand could be pulled up from the state wide database on the Registron and written to the token. I'm trying to speed up the voting process and make provisional ballots easier to read. This concept is an add on to the basic idea so it could be dropped. As per what's on the token, what does it matter if the voter inspects their ballot? Admittedly this is sort of a caveat emptor approach and may not be the best. Still, if you go back to the archives, I think I had been suggesting that the poll worker enter in a code phrase to initialize the Markamatic !
 for each
 voter with the code phrase cranking up a particular ballot type so this is a big change for me. I think this is what prompted the be a poll worker discussion.
Thanks, Ed Kennedy

Ed Kennedy wrote:

> Hello Ken:
> I have come to believe that we do need intelligent tokens to initiate
> voting machines (surprise Arthur!). The purpose of these tokens woud
> be several fold.
> The biggest issue is how does one initialize a voting machine for each
> voter. Diebold and I suspect others handled this by using an
> intelligent token that the voter inserted into the machine to start it
> up for each voter. I know we went round and round about that last
> winter and spring and came with at least 5 different methods that had
> issues around each one. Since I've been a poll worker I've changed my
> mind.
> To handle primary elections where voters must vote by party. They
> would declare their party preference to the poll worker at the index
> who would generate the proper token.

Ummm...couple comments here.

In the voter registration data collected by the SecState's office, party
affiliation is listed. They can output Comma Separated Values data to
the county, which your system then imports.

The volume of data is small enough that every voting machine can have
the whole set. That means there's really no problem at all with people
voting at ANY precinct(!) because once they identify themselves to the
system, it "knows" where they live and what party they are, and can
present the ballot accordingly.

The only remaining issue is "how do they identify themselves"?

Avante's answer is a sixteen digit alphanumeric code for each voter.
They use the first eight digits to ID the human, the next eight to ID
the ballot style used (I think two or three of those digits is a county
ID unique in the nation). This code is on a "dumb card" that's very
tough and flexible. Once ANY of the systems records a voter with that
number as having voted at a specific time, when the totals are all piled
up, any duplicates result in a flag and all subsequent after the first
get tossed...copying an ID card doesn't allow fraud.

But...we should remember that Avante was using such cards to ID people
coming in and out of buildings and trade shows. Their voting system was
originally an attempt to find a new use for the cards . So they
were biased towards using said cards and hence we can't assume that's
the only way to skin this cat.

However. They did prove that a "dumb token" can be used to ID voters.
And in their scheme, inserting the card cannot insert extranous data or
program files. In the Diebold touchscreens, the "smart cards" have 128k
RAM on board of which only 4k - 8k is needed for "voter ID" - the rest
is full of God only knows what. I cannot recommend highly enough y'all
do NOT do like that, or you'll have me outside your office doors
protesting yer arses :).

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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:13 2004

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