RE: Barcode Redux

From: John Payson <jpayson_at_circad_dot_com>
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 17:56:11 CDT

>>
>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.
<<

I think you misunderstood. 2,000 ballots were cast, of which 15 seem to
be spoiled. If they were spoiled by the voter before they were cast,
then they shouldn't be counted. If they were spoiled by an election
official's sleight-of-hand, then they should be counted (if it can be
ascertained who they were for) and the election officials investigated.
With an electronic ballot box that will refuse all spoiled ballots, the
appearance of a spoiled ballot within the box would suggest that the
ballot was tampered with after it was cast. But if no such validation
is done when the ballot is cast, it's impossible to know who's to blame.

>>
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.
<<

Do you mean "handicapped-accessible"? If so, I fail to see what the
problem is. If the system provides a voter with the option to have
votes read back audibly after they are printed but before they're
escrowed, then while a blind person would be unable to read the paper
ballot to ensure that it matched what was read back, that would not
interfere with the process of voting. Since the machine would have
no way of knowing whether a particular ballot was being printed for
someone who was in fact able to read it, the machine could not cheat
without running a substantial risk of detection.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:12 2004

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