The merits of optical scan voting?

From: David Webber \(XML\) <"David>
Date: Fri Jun 03 2005 - 21:11:32 CDT

This is a very nicely done piece from someone who actually runs elections.

http://www.voterinfonet.com/sub/news_view.asp?NEWS_ID=125

However - its still not goof proof - this scanning system can still be
interfered with and produce a phoney result (by tampering with the tallying
count software) - but assuming the right safeguards in place - it would be
possible to detect that post-election by hand counting enough of the scan
cards.

So - overall - it offers better audit trail than a DRE, but still not TLV
levels of trust - but I'd say better trust than the DRE approach alone.

Blind voters and disabled voters would still not like this as much - but
given that this could provide a more reliable approach than DRE at a
fraction of the cost - I'd say - better option - until a certified TLV-based
system is available.

I think though in a really close election in a critical State - there would
be challenges - and it would take time to sort that all out. That's one of
the supposed benefits of using DRE's in the first place - but sadly the
reverse has been the case.

The districting issues in CA certainly are a real challenge - to match the
right voter to the right ballot. Including a computer in the process to
print out the scan ballot could definately improve that matching process.
And would solve the blind / disabled voter part, and of course make
multi-lingual balloting easier.

Then again - a State could happily adopt optical scanning right now -
knowing that they could upgrade to a full TLV system later, once that had
been fully developed and certified, and the scanners would be 100% re-usable
as part of that.

The rush to DRE certainly is not justified by the current raft of issues
with DREs from trust to
reliability to high costs.

DW

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Received on Thu Jun 30 23:17:03 2005

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