Re: How dark is a mark?

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Thu Dec 20 2007 - 08:07:19 CST

OVS has had to confront this issue in New York, where state law requires privacy for the voter. That means, where any information is displayed on any screen regarding a voter's choices, the voter must have privacy.

One method of providing that privacy is to try to shield the screen; no such effort seems truly successful, since anyone could come up behind a voter and see the screen.

Another method is to curtain the scanner, allow the voter to see either the ballot or a summary, and adopt other methods of preventing multiple votes or attacks on the voting equipment. For example, a voting token permitting one vote can prevent multiple scans and sealed equipment can be coupled with an alarm to prevent any penetration of the scanner equipment.

My own preference is for the curtained scanner plus safeguards against the dangers Doug Jones cited. I also favor display of the ballot image captured by the scanner. The arbiter, however, will be the state election authorities. Most states are used to Debold/Premier, Sequoia, and ES&S and will simply accept whatever "shield" is provided by these vendors regardless of the degree of privacy.

-- Dick

Arthur Keller <voting@kellers.org> wrote: At 1:52 PM -0600 12/19/07, 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

I've been an advocate of having the scanner show a summary screen as
Doug indicates. Is it possible for the screen to be visible to the
voter, and yet not visible to others?

Best regards,
Arthur

-- 
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Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:07 2007

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