Re: Open Voting Consortium Press Release

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Thu Mar 25 2004 - 09:23:39 CST

On Mar 25, 2004, at 1:00 AM, David Mertz wrote:

> I don't really understand what you are asking here. I'm not
> advocating "under glass", but criticizing it; still, I don't think
> that Mercuri and gang have missed all the basic procedures for
> spoiling ballots:
> With "ballot under glass":
> 1. Select votes and print a ballot (under glass)
> 2. If ballot is inaccurate, push the "spoiled ballot" button.
> 3. Voting machine shreds the spoiled ballot.

In manual processing models for paper ballots, spoiled ballots are
always handled by an election worker taking the spoiled ballot and
giving the voter a new ballot.

One way to emulate this in the Mercuri method is to have the voter,
on discovering that the paper is wrong, ask an election official
for help. The election official inserts a key in the "spoil ballot"
key switch (or enters the PIN 1111 if it's a Diebold machine) and
then glass pops open. The election worker removes the spoiled ballot,
closes the glass, and enables the machine to allow the voter to try
again. The manual effort is not that different from a spoiled
ballot using punched cards or mark-sense systems.

Another model involves marking the ballot as spoiled but letting
it fall into the ballot box. In this case, the marking must be
applied while the ballot is visible. The jam-prone worst case
model is to mark it by sucking it back into the printer and
overprinting it with the message "spoiled" and then letting it
fall after a pause to let the voter see that it's properly overprinted.
Another model is to have the "spoil ballot" button connected by a
mechanical linkage directly to a marking mechanism that daubs
red ink on the ballot. In this case, spoiled ballot limits are
enforced by the machine, while in the above case, they're done by
the election workers.

But, never shred a spoiled ballot. After the election, one
appropriate audit step with any voter-verified paper ballot
system is to go over the spoiled ballots and see if there are
any patterns.

                Doug Jones
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Received on Wed Mar 31 23:17:09 2004

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