Re: Flash, San Diego mayor gets elected on undervote

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Wed Feb 02 2005 - 23:03:13 CST

Hello Charlie:

    Glad to hear that everyone is waking up from our apparent hibernation.

I was kind in a hurry this afternoon. Here's the article pasted below that
was naggin at the back of my mind. Normally I'd just drop in a link but
this place wants a no cost registration.

I want to particularly call your attention to the section that starts,
"Quoting a Hart engineer...." and ending at, "...different locations on the
ballots after each scan." What is alarming to me is that they not only did
32 out of 54 test ballots kicked back but they apparently couldn't get the
errors to reliably repeat themselves over three runs. They refer to another
meeting coming up but I couldn't easily find that.

The meaning here is a little unclear but I get the impression that these
optical scan readers are not the wonderful solution people have recently
been making them out to be. In the terms of an open source computer driven
ballot marker/printer d'ya think this is an issue that needs futhur
analysis? I was going to use the San Diego mayoral election to flog my
Markamatic concept a little more by saying that a Markamatic system or =
would cut out a lot of this problem with write in ballots but now I'm
beginning to wonder. I haven't used the pop up touch keyboards you mention.
Could one use a stylus directly on the screen such as one does with a PDA or
a tablet computer?

I know California is but one of the 50 states so I'm wondering what the laws
are in other states.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy
 ============================ The Daily Camera

            To print this page, select File then Print from your browser
      Printer says ballots bear partial blame
      Maintains most of fault lies with the new voting system

      By Eric Bontrager, For the Camera
      January 29, 2005

      The printer of the ballots from Boulder County's botched November
election admitted Friday that printing errors caused some problems, but said
the company that makes the county's new voting system and its machines carry
the bulk of the blame.

      In addition, Howard Harris, president of EagleDirect printing, said
Hart InterCivic Inc., the company that manufactured the county's new voting
system, has been uncooperative in helping his firm uncover problems since
the election.


      "This was unlike any other order we have ever had," Harris told the
county's Election Review Committee Friday. The committee is investigating
what caused the vote count to take a week to complete.

      A company official from Hart InterCivic Inc. also attended the
meeting, but said little in defense of the firm.

      Hart InterCivic Inc. is expected to make its presentation to the
committee Friday.

      Harris and others from EagleDirect presented a report to the committee
documenting their role in the investigation following the election,
including several conversations with engineers and technicians from Hart
InterCivic Inc.

      According to Harris, EagleDirect first became aware of a problem two
days after the election when the printing on some ballots appeared too
light, too dark or was smudged.

      While those printing errors were obvious, many ballots were rejected
by the machines as damaged initially for unclear reasons, he said. Harris
said that after further review, it was determined the location of the boxes
voters filled in was off slightly on these damaged ballots.

      Quoting a Hart engineer, Harris explained that the Hart voting systems
has a tolerance of plus or minus 20 percent, meaning the ballot scanner
could compensate for movement of the boxes by no more than 20 percent, a
tolerance Harris characterized as unreasonable.

      "The great majority of ballots rejected could have been read if the
tolerances were loosened," he said.

      Presenting a collection of 54 ballots from the election that were
tested three times on the county's system earlier this month, EagleDirect's
chief operating officer Bill Schaefer said the Hart system's tolerance was
so tight that 32 ballots were rejected in one or more scans. Of those 32, 24
were rejected because of defects that appeared on different locations on the
ballot after each scan.

      Schaefer said EagleDirect's quality control for the ballots was
hindered because, unlike past printing jobs EagleDirect has done, Hart would
not supply one of its machines during the printing process.

      He also said throughout the post-election investigation, Hart has
failed to provide EagleDirect with any of it's machine's specifications for

      Schaefer explained that a "bubble effect" of magnification produced by
the Xerox machines EagleDirect used to print the ballots may have been
responsible for some of the boxes not being printed within Hart's

      "We're led to believe by Hart that printing anomalies could have been
corrected by the machines," he said.

      Neil McClure, vice president for Hart's election solutions group, told
the committee during the public comments part of the meeting that that kind
of movement of the boxes should not have been happening.

      "According to Xerox, there should be no deviation," McClure said.

      He did not comment further on Friday.

      Committee members said that though printing and machine errors may
have played a part in the ballot counting delay, there also are other
factors to consider. For example, committee member Linda Flack said some of
the election volunteers walked off the job before the count was complete.

      Committee chairman Richard Lyons said he hopes public testimony at a
future special meeting will expose yet-to-be-discovered contributing

      "It may be the perfect storm of issues that caused the delay," he

      Copyright 2005, The Daily Camera. All Rights Reserved.

charlie strauss wrote:
> this is not a "problem with optical scan", its a problem with how
> optical scan is processed. San Francisco I recently read has gone to
> requiring all ballots be exmined for voter intent and not relying on
> the bubbles to clue the machine into write ins. It certainly is in
> the realm of mundane current technology to have a machine set aside
> all ballots with markings in the write-in areas regardless of the
> bubble being marked.
> moreover I would say that since its much easier to write in a
> candidate with a pencil than the slightly clumsy touchscreen
> keyboards that optical scan aids write-ins not hinders them.
> _______________________________________________
> OVC discuss mailing lists
> Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to

OVC discuss mailing lists
Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain

spacer.gif dato_skyscraper21.jpg
Received on Sun Feb 27 17:17:02 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Feb 27 2005 - 17:17:13 CST