Re: "dumb scanners"

From: Ronald Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Thu Dec 07 2006 - 13:52:31 CST

On Thu, 7 Dec 2006 13:28:27 -0500 (EST), charlie strauss wrote

> Turning to the more important issue of "fixing" your system to keep
> the good idea of a "dumb" scanner and elminating it's destruction of
> ballot secrecy here's a thought.
>
> The basic notion is we want a scanner that is dumb in the sense
> that it's actions are invariable while just sufficient to count
> ballots. We might not be able to achieve this with existing COTs
> systems but we could possibly acheive the desire of an invariable machine.
>
> To do this we have the machine not produce full ballot image reports
> in a single record (XML file in your schema), but rather we have it
> produce separate records for each oval. Each of these records
> would record three things: 1) the ballot style ID number. 2) the X-Y
> poistion of the oval 3) the state of the oval (filled or not filled).
>
> Thus the scanner would operate as follows.
> When a ballot is inserted the first few rows of marks are read to
> get a ballot ID number (care would need to be taken to make the
> patterns unforgable). Then the machine would read the remainder of
> the ovals and store on a hard disk a record for each oval contianing
> those three elements. When the machine is read out at the end of
> the day, the order of those stored records is randomized (in much
> the same way OVC does a ballot shuffle). Once can argue if the dumb
> machine should do the intermeidate storage of the records or if the
> dumbscanner should output them immediately and the record recording
> and order scrambling be delegated to another machine (for example a
> CD burner that puts the records in random locations).
>
> In any case this would nominally preserve the secret ballot while
> allowing a publication of a record that can reconstruct the
> aggregate vote totals that was generated prior to the processing
> getting to a machine that was programable....

But there needs to be only one "dumb scanner" (under officials' control) to
avoid invading privacy by scanning voters' fingerprints, ballot serial
numbers, etc. The "dumb scanner" can mis-scan in the same way as existing
all-in-one scanners, so we still need sampling hand audits. I'm not sure that
this approach solves much, but at least it appears to preserve privacy.

-R
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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:09 2006

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