Re: Use of audit/copies in event of loss of original ballots

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Tue Jun 29 2004 - 11:01:17 CDT

On Jun 29, 2004, at 10:33 AM, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:

> Note that Riverside County here in CA is currently in the middle of a
> DRE-recount fiasco that appears to have taken the job of the RoV
> (Michelle Townsend) with it. She had been denying the challengers
> access to any records that could be used to recount the vote (as
> sparse as they are with many DREs).

They are not entirely sparse:

Each DRE machine maintains multiple copies of the "electronic ballot
box". Unless these records have been destroyed, they can be extracted
for examination. In addition, each DRE machine records an "audit log"
recording time-stamped event records for each "significant" action
taken with the machine (casting a ballot, opening the polls, closing
the polls, cancellation of a ballot).

At the very least, in a recount, the audit logs should be examined to
determine if any ballots were cast before the official time the
polls were allowed to be open (definitely illegal), to determine
if the polls were closed in a timely manner, and to determine if the
number of ballot-cast records matches the number of ballots reported
from that machine. (Administrative errors, fraud and electronic
error could contribute to losses).

Similarly, the canvassing system maintains an audit log recording the
time of every significant canvassing event. Events such as entry
of totals from each precinct, clearing the totals, printing the
results are all logged. These log entries should account for each
precinct, for each batch of absentee ballots, and for each batch of
provisional ballots processed.

Failure to check these logs during a recount is evidence of bad
process. State law and administrative rules really ought to mandate
that these logs be checked during recounts.

Tampering with these logs, for example, by attempting to make changes
that are not logged, by attempting to edit the logs, or by attempting
to delete these logs, ought to be a violation of law comparable to any
other tampering with election results.

                Doug Jones
                jones@cs.uiowa.edu
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:25 2004

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