Re: Query

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jun 02 2008 - 02:02:56 CDT

Brent Turner wrote:

> How much will it cost OVC to provide this system to LinuxWorld?
> How much would it cost a county, or city, to use this system?
Good questions.

On May 24th, I forwarded a message from Melinda Kendall that included this

********** begin quote
IDG Provides
Booth space in LinuxWorld (size and location TBD)
Badge scanner and duplication detection capability
Stanchions directing booth traffic
8' table for PCs
42" Plasma screen on stand
Table for ballot box

OVC Provides
All staffing
3 PCs and printers
Ballot scanner and vote counting
Ballot box
Privacy folder
Voting area verisimilitude

Cost estimate TBD
Info counter
**************** end quote

The costs for the Ballot scanner and vote counting, Ballot box, Privacy
folder, and Voting area verisimilitude should be minimal. Staffing, PCs and
printers will be substantial. As I have indicated, the initial guesstimate
of three voting stations is way too low. I am expecting we will need to
provide at least a dozen or so voting booths.

The costs for each voting booth would include about $40 for the printer, $40
for the surplus PC, and another $125 or so for the LCD screen (mice also
needed at about $5 ea). So, around $200 for each voting booth, or little
more than $2,400 for a dozen. A couple of variables: maybe we could get the
PCs donated or borrow them (maybe rent). That could reduce the cost. The
$40 per printer assumes HP 4260. I would prefer to use the Epson C120, but
it costs about $70 ea. The Epson is faster and I think the print quality is
better -- and less susceptible to smearing. If someone puts a finger on the
bar code and smears the ink, it could make it difficult for the scanner to
read it -- probably not a problem since there are two identical bar codes.
I'd feel better with the Epson, but okay with the HP.

I don't think I can commute for the three days, so I will need a hotel room.
Grannies also want hotel room(s). So, at least two or three hotel rooms for
two or three nights.

In the next few days, I will have an estimate and breakdown from LinuxWorld
on all of other our costs. I'm hoping $5,000 will do it for everything.
OVC does not have the money right now so we will have to raise it.

The costs for use in an official public election could vary widely. In any
case, the cost for the OVC-type system would be very competitive with other
systems. Generally, we will be much cheaper than any optical scan system
because there is no preprinted ballot cost. And, we don't need an addition
ballot marking device or DRE (one per pollsite) for accessible voting --
these tend to cost $4,000 (e.g., Sequoia, Diebold et al DRE) to $5,000 (for

The ballot verification station cost should be minimal. Any old PC should
work, and the same bar code scanner used for tabulating the vote after the
polls close could work in hands-free mode for this purpose. Usable
headphones for this would be pretty cheap ($5 or so). Most of the
jurisdictions I have spoken with already have the 2-d bar code scanners,
which they use for inventory and such.

I illustrated a design for a 4-station unit. Similar voting booths could be
produced in 1-station or 2-station versions as well. The 4-station is most
efficient and will cost the least per voting booth. This is because privacy
panels and legs are shared more in the 4-station design (for example, the
back panel in the voting booth is shared with the voting booth on the other
side). If you need seven voting booths at a poll site, you could use one
4-station, one 2-station and one 1-station units. That would be the most
efficient cost-wise.

I envision three possible modes for implementing our system, with variations
under each: 1) all (or almost all) election-dedicated equipment purchased
new, 2) all (or almost all) repurposed commodity components, 3) hybrid with
some election-dedicated and some repurposed components

All Election Dedicated Equipment
This would be the most expensive to purchase, but might cost less to
manage -- less labor cost. $1,000 per voting booth would be a reasonable
estimate on the retail cost for a delux system.

Hybrid, some election-dedicated, some repurposed
Let's say a jurisdiction bought the tables with LCD screens mounted in the
tops, and bought the privacy partitions. Then used repurposed PCs from
surplus (county PCs removed from service and about to be auctioned, for
example) along with inexpensive commodity printers (some suitable printers
these days cost about the same as an ink cartridge). This mode could be
comparable to our costs for LinuxWorld. Perhaps they want larger higher
resolution screens. So maybe $300 per voting booth with somewhat higher
labor costs for managing logistics. Still have to pay for storage.
Certification of this system would be more involved than all-dedicated (and
more expensive).

All repurposed
Minimal hardware costs include tables and privacy partitions -- could be
under $10 per voting booth. This might be suitable for a city election
where no voting system certification is required. Substantial logistics
and labor issues getting everything set up and tested. Avoiding major
costs -- including initial purchase costs and storage costs -- could make it
very cost-effective. Takoma Park MD, with 2,500 voters total: all you need
to do is join OVC (maybe $100 per month).

Any jurisdiction wanting to use the OVC system should join OVC. We can
scale memberships appropriately depending on the level of service they will

Alan D.

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Received on Mon Jun 30 23:17:06 2008

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