Re: suggested proposals for federal election integrity legislation

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Fri Dec 01 2006 - 19:53:06 CST
Arthur Keller wrote:
At 1:13 PM -0800 12/1/06, Ron Crane wrote:
Arthur Keller wrote:
The proliferation of ballots styles in a primary means lots of
supplies are needed for hand-marked paper ballots.  That's an
argument for blank ballot stock that can be used by electronic ballot
printers to produce printed summary ballots for the ballot style
desired by the voter.  Similarly, early voting can be done more
easily on electronic ballot printers than hand-marked paper ballots
or the like.

I think these are minor questions compared to the security and 
transparency implications of machine-printed ballots. As I see it, 
the only case where machine-printed ballots confer a significant 
benefit that weighs against their risk is where a voter cannot vote 
independently without using the machine. [1] But the Vote-PAD can 
help many of the same voters that a ballot printer can, and without 
the added risk. With additional research, it seems that an improved 
Vote-PAD could help even more voters.

Please explain how you would deal with centralized early voting in a 
primary where there will be literally hundreds of ballots styles from 
which to choose.  It is not fair to rely on ballots mailed to 
people's houses, because they often don't arrive on time.
I would question whether centralized early voting is useful enough to implement. Even accepting, for the sake of argument, that it is, some jurisdictions having lots of different ballots shouldn't create an insurmountable problem. The DMV deals with a worse problem (many different forms and different procedures for handling each) every day. Not that a DMV visit is pleasant, but most people accomplish what they need to accomplish.

That absentee ballots sometimes don't arrive on time is a procedural fault that should be relatively easy to remedy. It is, though, true that crooked officials might try to rig the vote by delaying mailings to certain precincts. That is one of a large variety of slimy practices (like the "You can't vote if you're an immigrant" frauds and the "Your polling place has changed to [insert address of derelict warehouse]" frauds) that we need to penalize much more heavily.
[1] A ballot printer that also keeps electronic ballot records can 
provide some protection against some local frauds by exploiting the 
ability to cross-check electronic and paper records. But I think 
that's far outweighed by the possibility of global fraud that the 
ballot printer introduces, not to mention its opacity -- which 
necessitates expert supervision.

That's what the OVC design does.  I guess our weighting of the 
various approaches and their security/benefits is different.  I 
respect your opinion and contributions, but I think it will be hard 
to resolve our differences.
Yes. We just look at this differently. I understand and respect your positions as well. I do think that we share a common fear, aside from the obvious one. And that is that we feel that the next iteration of federal voting legislation is likely to be the last for a good long time, and that it will have a strong tendency to cement particular kinds of systems in place. This fear, I think, tends to block incremental solutions, not just between us, but generally.

All the best,


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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:03 2006

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