Re: Fwd: Radio programme on e-voting in Oz

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sat Jul 24 2004 - 15:24:12 CDT

At 11:56 AM -0700 7/24/04, Alan Dechert wrote:
>> So besides Alan's (rare) case of people walking off with ballots, ...
>Actually, Karl and Doug have mentioned this more than I have--which brings
>up another point.
>There exists a certain (minimal, we hope) competency barrier for voting.
>This point was made in the Supreme Court decision in 2000, although I
>believe it was misapplied.
>For example, consider a bed ridden person with Altzheimers and other
>ailments such that he or she is unable to do or understand much of anything.
>We are not going to make a voting system that will enable this person to
>It's hard to describe exactly the minimum level of competency that one must
>have in order to vote, but generally speaking, the voter must have some
>comprehension of the process, and have an ability to understand the choices,
>and some ability to indicate preferences and understand how to cast the
>ballot once finished.

We have to ensure that a "competency barrier" is not mistaken for the
tests that were used to disenfranchise voters in many jurisdictions
as recently as 4 decades ago. Rather, our objective is to make the
system as easy to use and intuitive as possible. For example, voters
familiar with DRE's may not know they have to pick up the paper
ballot, inspect it, and cast it in the ballot box. The instructions
on the EVM can help, as do the paper ballot spitting out of the
printer very soon after the voter says "print ballot" on the

Of course, the issue of usability also arises with absentee ballots.

Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Sat Jul 31 23:17:03 2004

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