A partial non-computer based solution to the ballot box stuffing problem and some voter initialization comments

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Sun May 16 2004 - 13:23:32 CDT

Hello All:

    First of all, I feel badly about saying we are at a standstill. Given the volume of mail in my inbox this morning, obviously a great many creative minds are at work here. Also, I've slept on the question which always makes me more optimistic. A simple, although not foolproof, idea has occurred to me that would help address some problems and might even be applicable in all situation.

    The privacy folder as described to be has one side cut away while the other one is not. I'd suggest that both sides of the folder be cut down identically. This would make it much easier for a pollworker to detect if there is more than one ballot in the privacy folder simply by running their finger tip along the edge of the ballot prior to putting it in the ballot box. While a person could fold away the edges of extra ballots placed in the privacy folder there would be a perceivable lump of at least 3 thickness of paper on one side or the other of the privacy folder. Also, the folded portion of any extra ballots would tend to hang going into the ballot box. I'd imagine that there are jurisdictions where the voter instead of the poll worker puts the ballot into the ballot box. However, OVC could urge those who adopt the EVM system to reject ballots that are obviously folded.

    Having worked as a printer I know that cutting one side only of a folder requires something called die cutting which usually requires specially shaped knives and is usually expensive. Folders are die cut and crimped when they are manufactured and could be made to order along the way that Arthur mentioned with the one side cut away. However a printing job shop would find it easier and thereby cheaper to simply order up a quantity of folders and simply cut all the way through the folders as the blades on their cutting machines are straight. Just as a sidelight, a letter press machine versus a rotary offset press would be the preferred choice for printing the folders after cutting them. Card stock with crimps in it might tend to wrap around printing cylinders or other wise be difficult to handle. As a preliminary size, I'd suggest trying 7.5"x10" (folded) assuming 8.5"x11" ballots. This would leave 1" sticking out on two sides where the bar codes would normally be. It also might make it easier to insert the ballot into the ballot box directly from the privacy folders. The exact size and design of the privacy folders will have to be the subject of tests and is also dependent on the choice of ballot size. Manila folders are not a requirement, just my personal first choice. Regular heavy stock could be printed, cut and then folded in most job shops.

    There are no perfect solutions to these questions and to the matter of the voting cycle initialization. However, I'd suggest that all of the alternatives discussed have various merits and the software should be written to accommodate them all as long as testing doesn't find some insurmountable obstacle to any of the choices. As there are 50 states and several territories that have elections routinely there could easily be many different preferred solutions.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy

10777 Bendigo Cove
San Diego, CA 92126-2510

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:46 2004

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