Re: draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill

From: Ronald Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2009 - 14:46:12 CST
Edward Cherlin wrote:
On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 2:06 AM, Jim March <1.jim.march@gmail.com> wrote:
  
* Somehow you guys have to solve the question of "how do we confirm an
OVC-based system in the field is legit?"  There's a bunch of ways to
do it, but you for damnsure have to pick one.
    

I was not aware that there was any confusion about this. The checksums
of the CDs to be used in voting are to be published on the Internet,
including all variations for different voting districts. Election
observers can verify the CD checksums in the polling places in a
manner that satisfies them.
  
This appears to contradict your message of 1/21/09 10:45pm, in which you state that observers are not allowed to touch the official CDs, only copies ("There is no reason to give an auditor physical custody of the CD."). I noted these issues, and others related to voting app/OS/firmware verification, in my message of 1/22/09 1:10pm. If these issues are not solved securely and transparently, we're right back in the "we're the experts: trust us" boat.
> Right now OVC's model is that everybody enters ballot choices
> into an electronic screen and then proof-reads a piece of paper that
> comes out.  This is akin for forcing everybody to use
> disability-access systems rather than just the disabled.  Sighted
> voters need to be working with actual paper with an actual pen, and
> that result gets scanned.  This eliminates the proofreading step.
  

I'm sorry, but that turns out not to be the case. People have to
proofread manually-marked ballots looking for stray marks and other
possible reasons for rejection, and to verify that they have not
overvoted or undervoted. They are fairly bad at this....
Under the current proposal, very few people are going to review the
paper output showing their votes, esp. for down-ticket races.
    

This has never been tested, and I very much doubt that it will turn
out to be true. It is true that not many people check the tiny and
inconvenient tape rolls on current machines, but that says nothing
about the OVC design.
  
So, voters are bad at proof-reading their own hand-filled ballots, but you "very much doubt" that they'll be bad at proof-reading OVC printed ballots? Hmm. Also, this lacks any acknowledgement that (except for accidents) a hand-filled ballot by definition reflects the voter's will, while a machine-printed ballot can, for many reasons I've described on this list, reflect someone else's will.
...But if you believe that voters should not use ballot marking machines,
what are you doing here?

  
Probably trying to help ensure that the public doesn't get fooled again, like it was by DREs, DREs with VVPAT, etc.

OVC has a lot to offer (re: more secure tabulators, more-secure assistive devices for the disabled), but its system is being oversold. If the overselling is believed, it could replace hand-filled, machine-counted, hand-audited systems, at a great loss of security and transparency.

-R

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Received on Thu Jan 7 00:09:50 2010

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