Re: Voting Stations

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Thu May 06 2004 - 16:22:39 CDT

On May 6, 2004, at 3:58 PM, Edmund R. Kennedy wrote:

> Hello Alan:
> Actually I read that note but I didn't see the
> drawing. I'm a little concerned about glare. I don't
> know about your polling places but mine is in the
> garage of one of my neighbors.

Several voting machines have screens that are close to
flat on the table, including the Fidlar Doubleday
Electrovote DRE and the original Global AccuTouch
DRE (from which the current generation of Diebold
machines descend). This offers considerably more
voter privacy than the ones with screens that are near

> Also, the kiosks in my
> branch library are pretty hefty items so that might
> not be the best model if you're looking for light
> weight.

Here is the lightest weight and most portable voting
booth I know of, used fairly widely for ES&S, Diebold and
Fidlar-Doubleday DRE machines, as well as being used for
optical mark-sense voting: Tote-a-Vote

> Now that I've through about it for a little
> while, I'm dropping the requirement for a curtain
> except for booths made for the wheel chair bound.

Curtains are unnecessary if the flat screen monitor
faces up, even when the voter is in a wheelchair.
It's when the monitor faces out that you need a

> I
> hate to make a 'special' booth for the disabled on
> general principles of mainlining but that's my
> problem. It still might be good to have 6-12" 'wings'
> sticking out on each side of a booth for privacy.

There are some inexpensive wheelchair accessible booths
on the market that are almost as crummy (sorry,
economical) as the Tote-A-Vote. They're designed so
you can pull a wheelchair right under the table and
work on the tablet-style screen in front of you.
I've tested them while riding a wheelchair and
severely limiting my arm motion. They work.

> Also, on a related note, I was just looking at
> ink jet printers when I realized that one of the
> challenges was that they only hold about 200 or so
> sheets of paper at a time. At full capacity at the
> polling place, how many people an hour would use an
> EVM?

Typically, you'll have about 100 voters per voting
booth -- the Tote-A-Vote recommendation calls for
this, and it's typical of what I've seen in real
precincts, where on a day when they expect 400 voters
to turn out per precinct, they set up 4 booths.

It takes 15 minutes to read through an entire
general election ballot, out loud, at a measured
pace. You usually give each voter 5 minutes, so
the booth can handle 12 voters per hour. Polls
are open from 6 AM to 9 PM (at least, those are
the hours we keep in Iowa), so in a day, about the
largest number of voters you could handle per
booth is 180.

> In other words, if a vendor decided to use ink
> jet printers how many times a day might each printer
> have to be refilled with paper? Similarly, a laser
> printer usually holds 500 sheets.
> I found the Australian site pretty interesting.
> However I noticed that that they were using a LAN, a
> server and perhaps only one printer. I didn't think
> we were doing that. I get the impression that there
> was an actual internal structure that was holding the
> cardboard up. The problem of dealing with weight and
> security seals doesn't come up or at least isn't
> discussed in the site you've mentioned. I know that
> the actual booth could be handled with cardboard
> cylinders and such but I think a 'normal' pc cpu would
> need to sit on the floor.
> I also may the wrong idea of what sort of 'enclosure'
> is needed. I guess something as simple as a piece
> fitted foam core would deter many people. The cpu
> would sit sideways and to the rear under the booth. A
> simple piece of foam core then would cover it over so
> it would be out of site and more or less out of mind.
> However, I recall that when my son was younger and I
> took him to the polls with me, he liked to play under
> things---like the voting booths. I'm still concerned
> with vandalism and sabotage but perhaps I'm
> hyperventilating. I guess it could be put down on the
> list of things to study.
> What do you think?
> Thanks, Ed Kennedy
> --- Alan Dechert <>
> wrote:
>> Ed,
>> Please review this post and followups.
>> I made a [crummy] sketch of my idea for that.
>> You might also have a look at what the Aussies did.
>> This is ALL
>> cardboard--encloses CPU, CRT etc--no printer.
>> We have to design something really cheap,
>> functional, portable, and
>> storable. The table design I have is something that
>> could work for
>> non-voting PC applications like libraries, kiosks,
>> etc.
>> Alan D.
> =====
> 10777 Bendigo Cove
> San Diego, CA 92126-2510
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> "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
> or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of
> speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble,
> and to petition the government for the redress of grievances."
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:20 2004

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