Re: Draft Standards for VVPAT in California

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Sun Mar 21 2004 - 16:42:18 CST

Nice to hear from you Charlie!

> The draft standard requires "A device that will allow a voter to view
> his/her paper ballot image while preventing the voter from directly
> handling the paper ballot copy. "
I guess we get off the hook there because our system is not a DRE.

> I've never understood this fixation on the voter not touching the
Here's the reason for that: while strictly speaking you can't really have a
DRE with a printed ballot, you can kinda sorta come close if the paper is
dropped in the box at the same moment as you punch "cast my ballot." This
means the voter cannot have the ballot in hand. If s/he has the ballot in
hand after punching "cast my ballot" it's possible they will look at it and
want to change it after they have already cast their vote! This situation
would be intolerable. You would open a pandora's box of issues related to
undoing votes. Do I need to make a list?

If you have a machine that can drop the ballot in the box at the same moment
that "cast my ballot" is punched, then you kinda sorta have a DRE with a
printed ballot (or "receipt"). However, you can't tell if you have a DRE
with a printed ballot until you examine the rules for administering
elections with such a machine. If the rules say you always reconcile the
printed record with the electronic record, while the printed record takes
precedence over the electronic record in case of discrepancy, then your
system is not a DRE because the vote was NOT Directly Recorded
Electronically when the voter punched "cast my ballot."

In fact, if you look at all possible sets of rules for administering
elections with such a machine, you have to conclude that the only true DRE
system with a printer is the one where the printed output (whatever you call
it) is never considered under any circumstances. If that's the case, then
you really do have a DRE with a printer but then you have to ask: if you
never consider what is on the printed record, then why have one?

Alan D.
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Received on Wed Mar 31 23:17:08 2004

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