RE: Barcode Redux

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 11:00:23 CDT

At 6:20 PM -0500 6/10/04, John Payson wrote:
> >>
>The current plan is to allow the voter to scan the ballot using the
>"BVA" but the ballot is not otherwise scanned until poll closing.
><<
>
>If nothing is done to make sure that what the voters put in the ballot box are
>actually valid ballots, how can election integrity be assured? Suppose that
>when ballots are counted after 2,000 people are supposed to have voted, there
>are found to be 995 valid ballots for candidate #1, 990 for candidate #2, and
>15 spoiled ballots. Does this mean that some malefactor voided 15 ballots
>(perhaps votes for candidate #2)? Or does it mean that 15 voters
>decided to be
>"cute" or stupid? Is there any means by which anyone can ever tell?

If 2,000 people voted, and 15 ballots were spoiled, there should have
been 2,015 electronic votes. Remember, the voter roll also include a
count of voters.

>One key to having a secure election is ensuring that any alteration of ballots
>will produce essentially-undeniable proof of fraud on the part of the election
>officials. If the appearance of spoiled ballots within the ballot stream does
>not constitute evidence of fraud, what means would exist to prevent a
>malefactor from selectively-voiding votes for non-preferred candidates?

There is an electronic ballot image maintained by the voting machine.
They must match or there is a problem.

>A major key to election security is thus to have something keep physical
>control of the ballots after the last time they're confirmed as being good.
>This could be done either by having a scanner with a capture assembly, or by
>having a printer with a capture/reject assembly (machine prints ballot, shows
>it in window, and then, based upon the lever a person pushes, either marks it
>spoiled and sends it to a reject bin, or else sends it to the valid-ballots
>bin).

The problem with the printer with a capture/reject assembly is it
isn't accessible. There has been discussion earlier in this mailing
list about the benefits and drawbacks of having ballots scanned and
incrementally tabulated in real time (with results not displayed
until close out). That's what's done with optical scan ballots in,
for example, San Mateo County.

Best regards,
Arthur

-- 
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Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:12 2004

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