Re: Questions from election officials

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon May 03 2004 - 22:06:49 CDT

I am forgetting which VVPAT system I was looking at, but
it had a unique identifier on each ballot (a long string that was
not keyed to the voter's identity) and if the first printed ballot
was not confirmed by the voter, a second ballot would be printed
with a digit 2 added to the heading line. I asked the salesperson,
"Then what?" The salesperson said, then the election staff
goes through all the ballots to find the ballot with the same
identifier without the "2" and that is the one the voter did not
confirm, and it should not be counted in a manual audit. I
asked, what if the voter doesn't confirm the second ballot?
The man said, then we print one with a "3" and the first two
should not be counted.

The Sequoia voting machine prototype displayed at NIST
in December, 2003, had a housing attached on the left of the
machine. The housing was vertical and about the size of a
plastic container for three rolls of toilet paper. It had a roll of
blank paper about the size of a roll of toilet paper near the top,
and a take-up roller for the printed paper at the bottom.
The paper unrolled from the top as it was printed on, and
was visible in the window between the two rollers, and then
rolled up again onto the take-up roller at the bottom. I asked
the salesman if the paper would rewind and get printed on
again -- say, with a big X -- if the voter didn't confirm it and
wanted to try again. He said no, it just unrolled in one direction
from the top onto the bottom. I asked how you could distinguish
between a confirmed ballot and an unconfirmed ballot, and
I think he said that there would be a note on the second ballot
that the previous ballot wasn't confirmed. It could have been the
same "2," "3" system described above.

Teresa Hommel

"Douglas W. Jones" wrote:

> On May 3, 2004, at 5:35 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
>
> > Also--if I'm not mistaken--the Avante system does not mark spoiled
> > ballots. I don't know how it's supposed to work. Spoiled ballots go
> > through another path to their own receptacle?
>
> It's up to the state. In some states, the ballot is really
> just a contemporaneous paper record or CPR, with no voter
> verification. This satisfies Illinois law. If you like what
> you see, fine, that's how you voted. If you don't like what
> you see, fine, go scream to the press, because that's how you
> voted.
>
> I believe that's still better than DRE, because if the system
> starts cheating on people, some of them will find out and
> scream, and in the long run, such complaints are likely to
> do real damage to the vendor and county, thus reducing sales,
> but it's not voter verified.
>
> If the state wants, they can allow the voter to spoil the ballot.
> Avante, as of the last time I checked, the Avante machine held
> the ballot by one end after it had been cut from the roll of
> adding machine tape. If the voter accepted the ballot, it
> sucked the ballot back in. If the state demanded that the voter
> be able to reject the ballot, they said it would be easy to add
> a bit of code so the machine would drop the ballot on the floor.
> The plastic cover was long enough that this was literally where
> it would fall.
>
> This was on their first model, the one that looked like it was
> designed by the Soviet School of Industrial Design. The new model
> was more compact and prettier, but they said it ran the same
> software, so I assume the same options were available.
>
> Doug Jones
> jones@cs.uiowa.edu
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:08 2004

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