Re: Voting with digital pen (Charlie Strauss)

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Jun 05 2007 - 09:05:45 CDT

On May 23, 2007, at 4:44 PM, Mark Zeman wrote:

> I have concerns about the pen as well. I can't imagine a
> traditional paper
> voting scenario with a bunch of little pens being handed out and
> returned to
> docking stations. These will walk away en masse, with hackers, the
> curious,
> and the gee-look-what-I-got crowd. We probably don't want these
> leaving the polls.

I don't see why it can't have a cable to the desk, like the pens at
the bank. Moreover the cable could be a data cable to avoid storing
data on the pen itself.

> I'm also getting a little confused with the Anoto technique and
> the way it
> works. The document says "The voter marks his choice on a paper
> ballot ...". I
> can't see the graphic well enough, but I'm guessing this is a
> Scantron-like,
> fill in the ovals or circling event, since ordinary pencil lead is
> used. Now
> the smarts of the pen come into play, sensing and recording the
> position
> of the vote on the page.
> I have a couple of problems with this. Firstly, and I'm sorry I
> don't fully
> understand the method, but any Scantronish or even choice circling
> technique
> will make the ballot harder to review than a printed summary of who
> or what
> was chosen.

I don't agree that that's an obviously true statement. Human factors
studies would be needed to determine this. However, in either case
both would be satisfactory I think.

> Secondly, Reviewing my own pencil marks, even if they make sense
> very quickly, doesn't involve confirmation from the machine that's
> going to
> actually tally my vote and send it to headquarters.

Which is why we would want to use it OVC style where there is also a
readout of the choices available. My suggested implementation was to
have the ballot edgemarked with the OVC barcode. The barcode can be
checked just like it is in the case of the OVC. Moreover if the
voters fail to do their own checks then in the OVC method there is
also the fact that when the judges wandscan the ballots that they can
notice the discrepancy.

> I voted on some proprietary machine last fall here in Illinois,
> and at the
> very least it printed a summary of my votes on fanfold paper, which
> displayed
> in the window of a sealed (I hope) collection box. I was suspicious
> going in,
> but that made me feel a bit better. The machine got everything
> right, at least
> for my eyes.
> Did I also mention my concerns about the probability that the
> pens are
> wireless? I searched the document for the word "wireless" and
> didn't find
> anything, but the little radiation lines coming off the top of the
> pen in the
> graphic would suggest it. That's another big security concern.

Again it does not have to follow there implementation. That's why I
suggested adapting this as an input device for OVC.

>
> http://fee.iavoss.org/2006/papers/fee-2006-iavoss-New-Generation-of-
> Voting-Machines-in-Germany.pdf
>

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Received on Sat Jun 30 23:17:02 2007

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