Re: draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill

From: Jim Tobias <tobias_at_inclusive_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jan 26 2009 - 15:07:27 CST

I'd be careful about trying to eliminate all possible "anarchist"-type
ballots. Not only here in the US, but around the world and throughout
history voters have felt the need to stick their tongues out at "the
system". Sometimes this has been sheer idiosyncratic pranking (of their own
ballot only -- not an attempt to sabotage the election), and sometimes it
has been an important political statement on behalf of large numbers of
citizens who feel that the entire electoral process has been rigged.
Remember -- sometimes that has been true!

Any attempt to restrict voters from expressing themselves as they see fit,
if they are willing to have their own ballots nullified, will be viewed by
some as oppressive, whether that's a justified opinion or not. Many people
don't like the "therapeutic state" trying to sand down all the sharp edges
of life; I'm sure most of us on this list have had such a reaction, be it
motorcycle helmet laws, adult content restrictions, or food safety warnings.
Elections are about who we choose to give power to in the first place, so
this issue is already primed.

I'd also be concerned about assuming that election laws have to change to
reflect the technological system that's being put in place; it's supposed to
go the other way.

***
Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
+1.908.907.2387 v/sms
skype jimtobias
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alan Dechert [mailto:dechert@gmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 3:38 PM
> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill
>
>
> Kaj wrote,
>
> >
> > Brent Turner wrote:
> >> One Lizard person is too many
> > You would still end up with Lizard people using an OVC touch-screen
> > system, since he wrote "Lizard People" for most of the
> write-in spots.
> >
> Well, not quite. Two things. 1) Where the guy wrote in
> Lizard People, he also sometimes forgot to fill in the
> bubble. This is a very bad flaw for hand marked ballots. We
> had a mayoral race in San Diego go to a candidate that
> clearly had fewer people wanting to vote for him. He won
> because the write-in candidate had many votes where the voter
> wrote her name in but did not fill in the bubble (those votes
> were not allowed). This is a system that allows for a winner
> that clearly does not reflect the will of the electorate.
> It's wrong, and the system deserves to be deep-sixed on that
> basis alone.
>
> 2) Ultimately, I see the OVC system making it impossible to
> write in a candidate incorrectly. Under current state law
> (true in CA and many other states), only qualified write-ins
> can receive votes. However, the system allows the voter to
> write in anything. We could make it so that when the voter
> selects the write-in entryfield, a list of qualified write-in
> candidates appears. If there is no qualified write-in (this
> is often the
> case) there would be no write-in entryfield. State law would
> need some adjustments, but nothing major. Right now, the
> list of qualified write-ins becomes avalable 14 days before
> Election Day. So, we would need to make it so the beginning
> of early voting coincides with the release of the qualified
> write-ins ... maybe the day or so after so qualified
> write-ins can be included in the ballot definition files.
>
> Alan D.
>
>
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Received on Thu Jan 7 00:09:52 2010

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