Re: How dark is a mark?

From: Rick Carback <carback1_at_umbc_dot_edu>
Date: Wed Dec 19 2007 - 23:41:13 CST

> Showing an image of the ballot proves nothing and is not an adequate
> form of voter verification. Showing a summary screen is useful
> however as a voter verification.

I don't think you understood what showing the image means. You aren't simply
showing the scan, but an interpreted representation of it. Specifically, the
software takes the scan and indicates what it interpreted as an overlay on a
pre-rendered image of a blank ballot (e.g. big green check marks, circles,
etc). It can also indicate what marks it saw that it didn't like (overvotes,
etc) with big red X's or some other mechanism.

The advantage is that it provides a redundant verification mechanism. The
voter looks for the name on the screen, that the position matches, and (if
possible) hears the name played back to them. If the ballot is somewhat
transparent, the voter could hold the ballot over the screen as a visual
overlay. Other graphical elements might also be useful (e.g. flashing the
name/race as it is being played on the screen).

> The scanner might provide auditory feedback about scans and their
> status. The scanner might also require a button being pressed for
> each ballot scanned, with the button being accessible to an election
> official and not to any voter. Doug, would this fix the problems
> you've identified?

It might be something, but there are potential problems. You might be able
to jam multiple printed ballots into the scanner at the same time (the voter
still has private physical access). The scanners totals will then be
correct, but the paper trail won't. Also, an election official might press
the button even when the voter doesn't accept the ballot. In my view, giving
the voter the ability to press that "I accept/reject" button is important.
It signifies their agreement with what was presented to them as being
correct.

>
>
> Best regards,
> Arthur
>
> At 3:50 PM -0500 12/19/07, Richard Carback wrote:
> >Re. the security. I was told they were feeding it into the scanner in
> >public, but the review would be private. I got the impression that you
> >would scan, take your ballot into the review screen, press yes or no and
> >then drop your ballot into a separate, public, ballot box. While I have
> >my ideas about it, i'm not quite ready to pass judgment on the system's
> >security... As you've said, it is not as thought through as you'd need
> >to really evaluate it.
> >
> >The image might be useful because the voter could take the ballot and
> >compare side by side -- some graphical highlighting of the choices would
> >also be interesting to see. Also, an audio playback, too..
> >
> >-R
> >
> >Douglas W. Jones wrote:
> >> On Dec 19, 2007, at 11:17 AM, Rick Carback wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>> Perhaps I have misheard, but isn't one of the ideas behind the
> >>> scanner supposed to be that it present a screen showing what the
> >>> scanner read on the ballot?
> >>>
> >>
> >> It's clear that scanners can auto-calibrate, recognizing background
> >> illumination levels of the paper, recognizing unmarked voting
> >> targets, and recognizing targets that are marked. This idea is an
> >> old one that needs to be used more frequently.
> >>
> >> But, scanners that present a screen showing what the scanner
> >> read on the ballot, as I understand the idea, doesn't involve showing
> >> an image of the ballot, but rather, a summary screen saying, perhaps,
> >> "Fred Smith for President". This has generally been seen as
> >> having the same value as the confirmation page in a DRE voting
> >> dialogue. It may have some value, but it does not eliminate the need
> >> to check or audit the scanning, since we know that only a minority
> >> of voters will notice inaccuracies in the reading of their ballots.
> >>
> >> And there is a problem. For security reasons, you want ballot
> >> scanners to be out in the open, in plain sight of everyone. You
> >> don't want the scanner in a booth where someone could feed multiple
> >> ballots into it or tamper with the machine. This issue has not been
> >> thought through, as nearly as I can tell.
> >>
> >> Doug Jones
> > > jones@cs.uiowa.edu
>
> --
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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 Mon Dec 31 23:17:07 2007

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