Re: "dumb scanners"

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Fri Dec 08 2006 - 09:33:23 CST

OVS produces an actual paper ballot, using Open Source software to create a print file (sent to a commercial printer) in its OpenScan (precinct scanner) system and the OVS OpenBallotWriter prints out the actual paper ballot. The ballot in the print file and the ballot printed directly are not summaries but actual ballots.

Turning to the question of fingerprints, it has always impressed me that a diligent corrupt election official could always use latent finger prints (using powder or whatever) on the ballot to identify the people voting the "wrong" way. After watching CSI, well, I know this can be done. How serious a threat is this? I don't know. It would be a lot of work, I am sure. Note that the Mercuri notion of a ballot under glass keeps fingerprints off the ballot.

My view is that we need to prioritize the dangers and risks to a fair and honest election. Paper ballots in conjunction with electronic processing (and retained electronic images and data) can be made very safe against known, real problems. Nothing is perfect, but I would fix the biggest problems first.

-- Dick

Arthur Keller <> wrote: At 11:36 AM -0800 12/7/06, Richard C. Johnson wrote:
>You have almost exactly described the way the Open Voting Solutions'
>OpenScan system works. We handle the data from the ovals
>(coordinates, yes/no) and put the ballot data into a structure from
>which we can analyze everything needed for rank order voting. We
>use ID numbers (not serial numbers) to aid the auditing process.

Does OVS' OpenScan system support the printed summary ballot idea?

>By the way, when vote stealing has been attempted through ballot box
>stuffing, it worked very well. Voting parties, complete with
>Candidate Whiskey, were not rare in the 19th century. I would think
>long and hard before abandoning traditional requirements for both
>ballot secrecy and security of voting.

My favorite voting story (which might well not be true) is that Edgar
Allen Poe died of voting. He voted early and often and had a few too
many Candidate Whiskey's, and died of alcohol poisoning. If someone
knows the story's veracity and details, I'd love to hear it.

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 Sun Dec 31 23:17:09 2006

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