Re: tabulation and COSTS!

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Tue Feb 22 2005 - 11:36:30 CST

Hello Paul:

Once again, there are no one size, fits all voting
systems. With that being said, I share your
frustration and not having something a little more
concrete to show. As you may have noticed I've been
vocal about working on the actual EVM system in
parallel with the equally important political and
adminstrative issues. Since the development and
successful demonstration of the EVM-1, advancement on
the hardware and software side has been not very
evident. With that hobby horse being ridden here's my

Generically, hardware and software needs for a
tabulation/canvassing systems would not be so
dramatically different from voting systems. As we are
talking open software here, the basic costs IMHO are
hardware and customization. For a first pass, I'd
suggest low to mid 4 figures for a touch screen
monitor, printer, cpu, ADA complians hardware and UPS
with a secure enclosure. Customization costs would be
primarily on a per/election basis. There might be
some cost sharing on obtaining certification and
keeping the system certified. As current voting
equipment starts at high 4 figures and easily goes to
low 5 figures it would certainly be less expensive.
For a tabulating station, throw in the cost of a high
speed document scanner with paper feeder. It's easy
to find ways to cut these costs but I'm assuming new
equipment and a lot of contingencies.

Another approach to the issue would be to ask, "Well
Mr. or Ms. Legislator, how much are you paying now?
What seems reasonable to you?"

Yes, the existing ballot scanners can be reprogrammed
and usually are before every election. There are
various system models that have been presented. The
EVM-1 system requires a bar code reader. I don't know
enough about the equipment to say that they could be
retrofit with bar code scanners but I'm going to
assume that they can't. My pet model is the
'Markamatic' which is a touch screen driven ballot
printer with many but not all of the features of the
EVM-1. I assume that it could be used as an interim
step towards the EVM-1 as it would be designed to be
the front end for existing ballot scanners and
tabulating systems. It is not as ADA compliant as the
EVM-1 as a Reading Impaired voter wouldn't
nescessarily have the bar code for the stand alone
ballot reader/voder that is part of the EVM-1 system.

Sources for tabulating machines and optical ballot
scanners? Look for Doug Jones most recent letter in
the correspondence archive and follow the links. As
for the EVM-1 and/or the Markamatic, to my
understanding, they are intended to be built,
certified and then released to the public with the
target audience of States and.or Countys that want to
do it themselves or hire small IT consultants.

As always, I speak only for myself and not for OVC.
Active discussion on this matter is encouraged!

HTH, Ed Kennedy

--- Paul Kinzelman <> wrote:

> That's all good background/technical info, but what
> I was really looking
> for was
> practical information.
> In other words, I talked with a state senator, he
> sounded sympathetic,
> but the first words out of his mouth were "How much
> will it cost".
> The OVC web has some info about the voting machines
> themselves
> (can be obsolete PCs), but I was wondering more
> about the cost of the
> tabulating stuff. Can existing paper ballot
> tabulating machines be
> reprogrammed and used?
> Do you have any sources for machines for purchase?
> How much?
> At 06:11 PM 2/21/2005, you wrote:
> >Hello Paul,
> >
> >Try
> >
> >
> >for starters. There is a lot of stuff in the wiki.
> IMHO I like Doug
> >Jones work althougth Keith Copenhagen's work can
> give you interesting
> >insights. There are various issues that occur to
> me:
> >
> >1. Wholesale versus retail fraud.
> >2. What to focus on first.
> >
> >Here's some additional information:
> >
> >The current and generally most effective process is
> that those paper
> >ballots that are marked or printed out are ran
> throug an optical ballot
> >scanner. The optical scanner is a specialized
> optical scanner that has a
> >row of LED's and photo detectors. The machines
> automatically pull the
> >document through the reader and deliver the ballots
> into a sealed box for
> >recount as needed. The scanner readouts are
> translated into votes and
> >written to a data chip. OVC proposes using a 2-d
> bar code system but
> >that's a whole another story. The data chip is
> removable and is held in
> >place mechanically and with a tamper evident seal.
> Unless something
> >unusual goes on, the chip is what gets read into
> the tabulation
> >system. Also, a paper tape is generated at the
> beginning and end of the day.
> >
> >Also, a reconciliation process similar to the daily
> sweep done between the
> >cash in a cash register and the paper tape totals
> from that register, has
> >to be done. In this case, the reconciliation has
> to occur between the
> >number of votes recorded on the chip and physical
> ballots sitting in the
> >ballot box. Also, don't forget reconciling
> provisional ballots, spoiled
> >ballots and absentee ballots turned in at the
> polling place.
> >
> >Oh yes, all 50 states have a different approach,
> and within each state,
> >each county may vary from the state standard.
> Perhaps the scarest
> >variations occur at the 100's of polling places in
> each county. As poll
> >workers usually get zip training and are generally
> exhasted by the time
> >canvassing starts (a poll worker' s day start at
> 0600 and can easily go to
> >2100 and beyond) they may blow off most of what
> they are suppose to do in
> >canvassing the vote so they can go home. Some
> states that use paper
> >ballots have the ballot taken to the County
> Registrar's office and machine
> >counted there. Some other states or counties
> actually count the ballots by
> >hand.
> >
> >As always, here's our most common comment:
> >
> >" We've been working on this project for several
> years and we've discussed
> >a lot of stuff. If you can't find it here, you
> might try our searchable
> >correspondence site
> "
> >
> >HTH, Ed Kennedy
> >
> >Paul Kinzelman wrote:
> >>Forgive what might be a stupid question, I didn't
> see it addressed
> >>in the FAQs, but have you folks addressed issues
> about how
> >>to tabulate all the paper ballots printed out by
> the open source
> >>machines?
> >>
> >>And has anybody contacted the
> >>folks? What you're doing I think dovetails quite
> well with the
> >>issues they bring up.
> >>
> >>-Paul Kinzelman, Peralta, NM
> >>
> >>
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Received on Sun Feb 27 17:17:07 2005

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