Re: Write In to overt Voting tabulation Fraud

From: Joe Baker <joebaker_at_dcresearch_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jun 23 2008 - 16:28:27 CDT

Hash: SHA1

Someone suggested that here in Wisconsin with paper ballots that
stickers with the name pre-printed would be useful.

I'll have to look at the election law here in Wisconsin to learn if a
list of qualified write-in candidates needs to be present at the polls.

Joe Baker
Candidate for US House of Representatives - WI #1

Alan Dechert wrote:
| Ed wrote,
|> Wow! Total surprise to me. I'm one of the folks that
|> actually read the manual from cover to cover. (Poll
|> working can be BORING.) However, maybe it was
|> something that they felt only the tabulators needed to know.
| Learn something new everyday .... Anyway, I've done a little more
| and have some refinements to what I wrote yesterday on this issue and how
| the ideal system would handle these things. I looked up some CA election
| law and also talked with my local (Placer County) assistant registrar,
| Ronco.
| One of the main things I learned is that the list of qualified
write-ins is
| finalized only 14 days before Election Day.
| [quoting me]
|> I believe that in some states, if there is not a qualified
|> write-in, no entryfield for a write-in appears on the
|> ballot (whether electronic or on paper).
| Not sure about all the states, but in CA, there will be a write-in
| entryfield in some contests whether or not there is a qualified write-in.
| For other types of contests there is never a write-in (e.g., judicial
| and some local offices). There isn't time to print the ballots while
| into consideration whether or not there are qualified write-ins. I still
| believe (think I heard) that some states have earlier requirements for
| write-in qualification so they do have time to take that into
| when printing ballots, and write-in entryfields are suppressed when there
| are no qualified write-ins.
|> My guess is that if you write in a name that is not qualified,
|> on an electronic voting machine, you will not get any
|> message about your vote not being counted or misspelled ....
| This is true (in CA).
|> As for misspellings, I suppose that's why there is an option
|> for the write-in candidate to list alternate spellings: it's too
|> difficult for the system to deal with misspellings so if it's
|> not on a list of variations, I'd say an electronic system
|> will throw it out. ...
| Write-ins are not evaluated electronically (in CA). You can generally
| write-in anything on a DRE (where there is an entryfield for it), but the
| names are evaluated manually (I think Cameron was wrong about this).
| Election officials have a lot of flexibility when it comes to counting or
| not counting a write-in, alternate spellings notwithstanding. Ronco
| mentioned a case where a locally famous long distance runner had a
| campaign going. A voter that wanted to vote for him apparently forgot
| name and put in "the long distance runner." The vote was counted.
|> I suppose in some jurisdictions using hand-counted
|> hand-marked paper ballots they will try to handle misspelled
|> write-ins (or unregistered variants, like M. Jones instead of
|> Mary Jones ... the locals might agree the voter meant Mary
|> Jones, but this will probably not compute in Chicago)
| Seems to be more widely true than I suggested, no matter what mode of
| ballot. Write-ins are manually checked.
| ---------------------------------------------------------------
| Here's what I wrote yesterday:
|> Voters should be allowed to write-in whatever they want,
|> but should be informed when they have written in a name
|> that will not be counted, and the voter should be offered
|> to see a list of qualified write-ins (from which they can
|> select one, if they want). If there are no qualified write-ins,
|> the voter would be informed of this after choosing the
|> write-in option (i.e., "write-in whatever you want, but it
|> won't be counted").
| This is basically supported by what I found out today. Ronco agreed that
| voters should be allowed to put in anyone they want regardless of
whether or
| not the candidate is on the list of qualified candidates.
| I think if someone wants to write-in their uncle Bob for president, they
| should be allowed the spritual joy of doing so even though it should be
| clear that the vote won't count. Also, there may be spritual joy in
| "none of the above." Fine.
| Ronco pointed out that there is a law about making a ballot identifiable.
| If you write in something that could identify the ballot as yours, your
| ballot is spoiled. I think this is the relevant line in the election
| 14287
| So, you can't literally write-in anything you want. In practice, I
| someone could write-in some sort of code word/names that would go
| by officials.
| In order to include the list of qualified write-ins on the voting machine
| software CD, we would have to have this streamlined so that all the
| was done, and adding the list was the last thing to do before
finishing the
| CD image files and getting them ready to burn. It would be a tight
| but doable, I believe.
| The procedure I suggest would be more accurate, and require less
manual work
| (although not all of the manual work and guess work could be eliminated).
| You would enter a valid vote for a write-in candidate by picking from a
| list. No need to worry about spelling errors or wondering about
whether a
| particular individual is a qualified candidate or not.
| As for unqualified write-ins, this would be more accurate too. Ronco
| thought it might be good to warn voters, when writing in a non-qualifed
| name, to avoid writing anything that could identify the ballot (better
| wording needed).
| The machine would warn the user that the write-in would not be counted
| would be printed in a manner that would only be readable under a
| glass. Another feature I might add, is that if the voter appeared to be
| entering the name of a candidate that was qualified (either a qualified
| write-in or a candidate named on the ballot), then the voter would be
| something like, "do you mean to vote for Bill Smith. If so, please make
| your selection in the usual way." (better wording needed).
|> Right now, with the summary paper ballot our demo system
|> prints, the write-in is simply printed there as the voter's
|> selection. I want to make it work like this: We will print the
|> unqualified write-in but in such tiny print that it will be
|> unreadable except with a magnifying glass. The summary
|> paper ballot will indicate something like, "no vote, unqualified
|> write-in." That is, we will show the fact graphically: their
|> write-in was recorded on the ballot, but the system will not
|> pick it up and it will not be counted. Qualified write-ins
|> should be handled like any other candidate except their names
|> do not appear unless the voter selects the write-in option.
|> This way, we don't have to deal with saving the actual text
|> written-in by the voter. Also, this will practically eliminate
|> the issue of ballot signing.
| I think this is okay.
| It's important to count every vote, and help the voter know it. We
| not tolerate a system where a voter thinks s/he is casting a valid vote
| while, in truth, the vote is being thrown out.
| As with other things, some regulatory and legal adjustments may be
| All is possible with suffcient will.
| Alan D.
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Received on Mon Jun 30 23:17:09 2008

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