Re: More on voting stations

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 13:18:36 CDT

Arthur,

> Perhaps it is buried in the numerous writings you've produced over
> that 3.5 years. However, consider the fiasco in March's primary in
> San Diego where the incorrect ballot was voted in many combined
> precincts polling places And consider primary ballots in general,
> where there are multiple ballot types voted in the same polling
> place. This forum hasn't heard from you a satisfactory solution to
> that problem that does not involve a token that you receive when you
> sign in at the polling place.
>
Primaries are something that need some study. There is a lot of variability
on how different jurisdictions handle this. Some use caucuses. A clean
simple comprehensive answer is not possible at this time.

I have proposed a "dumb card" instead of a smart card for use in a primary.
When you check in, the pollworker would give you a card with a number on it
that represents your party. Let's say you're a Republican and that is party
number two. You'd get a card (maybe the size of a 3x5 card) that has the
number "2" on it. The first screen you see on the voting station would say,
"select you party number" or something like that. The printed ballot would
have a number "2" visible in the margin along with the barcode. When you go
to deposit the ballot, the pollworker takes your dumb card and checks the
number on the margin to see that it matches.

> >This is the idea I've been selling for 3.5 years. That will not change.
>
> That's dogmatic. First, we'll need to do appropriate threat analysis
> and our designs *will* change based on those studies.
>
Details will change. The system will evolve over time. The basic idea will
not change.

> >People like the idea.
>
> Some people like it and some don't. ....
>
This is a simplistic comment. You need to look at who doesn't like it and
why. Diebold (and their paid shills) doesn't like it. Can you guess why?
ES&S (and their paid shills) doesn't like it. Can you guess why?

Some election administrators have an overwhelming desire (like a lot of
government bureaucrats) to do as little as possible to get their jobs done
and stay out of trouble. So they have a natural aversion to some new
process that they will cause them to learn new things and perhaps cause them
more work. It doesn't have to actually cause them to do more work. It just
has to look like it might cause them to do more work. Then they will
resist.

When I say "people like the idea," I mean the general public. They like it.
It makes sense and it looks like it will make efficient use of public
resources--especially in contrast to blowing high dollar amounts on immature
technology that has little credibility.

> That well depends on the appropriate risk management studies. I
> would bet that the first certified version is based on a specific
> hardware/software configuration.
>
That's fine. I wouldn't necessarily bet against you on that. That may be
the quickest cleanest way to get something certified. I also predict that I
will get a more general system certified. i.e., software certified that
will make a certified voting system when coupled with hardware that meets
specifications a, b, c ,d, and so on.

> I think there isn't just one OVC idea. ...
>
This is only semantics. In my mind, there is one OVC idea.

> There is a configuration of
> OVC ideas: Open source; commodity hardware, paper ballot,
> reconciliation, and so forth.
>
That's part of THE OVC idea. There is a lot more to it. Part of the OVC
idea also has to do with a voting system that will evolve over time as
technology, election code, and attitudes change.

> In my book, if the vast majority of these ideas are implemented
> in a system we develop, and that system is adopted, that will
> be fantastic. ...
>
Fine. You're hired

> If the OVC never fields a system, but the vast majority of our ideas
> are adopted by existing commercial vendors, who then produce
> trustworthy systems, I will also consider our efforts a success.
>
This scenario doesn't hold water in my view. We're shooting for public
software to run elections. Someone has to create that software. It doesn't
make sense for a commercial vendor to create that software at its own
expense and then make it GPL. It would make sense for a commercial vendor
to build the software and make it GPL if they were hired by the government
to do that. The government is not likely to do that for the same reason
they didn't do it when it was suggested by Ronnie Dugger 16 years ago.
Please go back and read what Penelope Bonsall said about it back then.

> Others may not.
>
Your scenario just doesn't make sense to me. If we're going to have
elections running with public software, someone has to drive that process.
Do you see anyone else driving this process? The Open Vote Foundation
doesn't seem to have made much headway (http://open-vote.org/ ). Why do you
suppose they're having difficulty getting anything going?

Alan D.
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:23 2004

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