Re: Open Voting Consortium Press Release

From: <dr-jekyll_at_att_dot_net>
Date: Thu Mar 25 2004 - 10:28:25 CST

>>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.

My method, of which bits and pieces can be found 1986 RISKS Forum Digest Archives was:

The paper ballot under glass was reviewed by the voter. If the voter approved it, the ballot was cast, the paper was cut, and it dropped into the ballot box. If the voter disapproved it, the printer printed a spoiled ballot message on the ballot and control was returned to the voter to make ballot choices again. This would continue until the spoiled ballot limit was reached, at which time the application code would apply whichever spoiled ballot rules were required by the State in which it was used. No operator assistance by election officials would required for processing a spoiled ballot. By not cutting the ballot until it was cast, spoiled ballot trends could be seen by looking at the paper ballots.

In 2003, I enhanced this by designing a Data Model to support this method and added internal spoiled ballot tracking to detect trends in ballot changes that could be seen by a simple query. I submitted that Data Model to OVC a few weeks ago. That was before I learned that OVC wants to use a different means for spoiled ballots. The good news is that the Data Model needed to support OVC's method is probably a relatively simple tweak in the Data Model I submitted.

One problem with spoiled ballots is a possible lack of anonymity. For example, under Texas law, each spoiled ballot required a signature of the voter and the ID number on the ballot to be recorded on the spoiled ballot list. (We currently use Optech Eagles in Denton County, Texas.) As an Election Judge, I cured voters' anonymity concerns about their spoiled ballots by helping them mark every choice on the spoiled ballot. That way, no election insider would be able to invade their privacy by going through the envelope with the spoiled ballots and the spoiled ballot paperwork.

Regarding which method of handling spoiled ballots is best, I think they both work and I'm signed on to help. Many years ago, I heard that the difference between a politician and statesman is that the politician is focussed on the next election and the statesman is concerned about the next generation. My goal is to be able to look my grandchildren in face and say that I did everything I could to leave them a legacy of accurate, honest, and verifiable elections whether it was done via my way or by someone else's way.

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Received on Wed Mar 31 23:17:09 2004

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