Re: Initializing the voter cycle and disabilities

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Fri May 14 2004 - 18:07:18 CDT

>Date: Fri, 14 May 2004 13:02:45 -0700 (PDT)
>From: "Edmund R. Kennedy" <ekennedyx@yahoo.com>
>Subject: Re: [voting-project] Initializing the voter cycle and disabilities

> Do the election laws require that during primaries, each voter
>declare a party affiliation or could they make that choice right on the
>EVM? This would simplify the pin number process (and for that matter,
>the smart cards). These do bring up disabled access issues especially
>for RII and for folks with something like muscular dystrophy that have
>problems with reliably controlling their fingers. Of course the
>coordination problem would be an issue all the way through the voting
>cycle. As this just occurred to me, have solutions been proposed?

It depends on the laws of the state, and they vary quite a bit.

California, for example, has party registration. When you register
to vote, you specify which of several ballot-qualified parties you
want to affiliate with, or you can specify the name of a not-yet qualified
party (once sufficient people do so, it becomes qualified), or you can
simply put down "Decline To State". On primary day, the people who
have registered with a particular ballot-qualified party get the primary
ballot of that party. (In Santa Clara County, the poll worker told the
smart-card writer which party you were in.) People who are not registered
with a ballot-qualified party may choose the non-partisan ballot, or may
choose the ballot of any ballot-qualified party that allows them to do so.
(Some do, some don't.) Since, by law, their choice has to be recorded,
they tell the poll worker which ballot they want, and the poll worker
encodes that on the card.

Some states don't record your party affiliation when you register. You
choose your party and its ballot on primary day. In some states that's
a public process; you declare which party's ballot you are pulling, and
it gets recorded. In other states it's a private process; you are
given the ballots for all the parties, and an envelope. In the privacy
of the voting booth you fill out one of the ballots and put them all
back into the envelope. The envelope goes into the ballot box. When
the envelopes are removed, they make sure only one ballot has markings
on it and throw the rest away. If more than one ballot is marked, then
it's as if you overvoted and it doesn't count at all. Ballots that fall
out of the envelopes aren't counted, either.

The EVM equivalent of closed primary or public open primary is where
the poll worker encodes your affiliation or selection onto the
smartcard. The EVM equivalent of private open primary is where
affiliation is not encoded on the card and you get to tell the machine
which ballot you want.

--Steve
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:44 2004

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