Re: A question about how votes are cast (protecting against multiplesheets of paper)

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Tue Jan 20 2004 - 08:51:24 CST

On Jan 19, 2004, at 5:26 PM, Karl Auerbach wrote:

> But I have a lingering question:
>
> As I understand it, the OVC ballot will be placed by the voter into a
> folder so that only the bar code is showning. How does a pollworker
> ensure that there are not other sheets in the folder without opening
> the
> folder?

There was an extensive discussion of this some months ago. We talked
about watermarks, for example (ghosted in background images or marks).
Among the suggestions was to use the government artwork (the official
seal of the state), and the name of the county.

The idea was to make it so that a ballot that was not official would
jump out at someone who's leafing through a stack of them. So, for
each precinct, the location of each of the background watermark design
elements is randomized (say, in one of 4 locations, top or bottom left
or right). The number of alternative locations required is small
(for the example, with two design elements, we get 12 non-overlapping
alternatives), since what matters is that a pre-printed ballot is
highly unlikely to get these right. It is, however, easy to increase
the number of alternatives while leaving it easy to visually detect
substitutions. Randomly selecting between state seal and textual
name of state doubles the number.

All ballots printed in the same precinct for the same election would
have these elements placed identically, in an arrangement that is
selected at random from among the possible alternatives at some point
in the setup process.

You'd have to search the E-mail archive to get more detail. The term
watermark definitely came up in the discussion and would be a good
search keyword.

We also talked about much larger cryptographically based validity
coding on the ballot, I should mention.

                        Doug Jones
                        jones@cs.uiowa.edu
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Received on Mon Jan 10 00:48:12 2005

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