Re: Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Sun May 16 2004 - 23:29:03 CDT

>Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 12:19:56 -0700
>From: "Alan Dechert" <>
>Subject: Re: [voting-project] Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED
>> I'd like to figure out a way to make Ellen's system work. It
>> is cheaper than smart cards and has other benefits too. ...
>Fine, Arthur. I also think it's worth looking at. However, large trials
>are needed to see how good/bad it is to have voters insert the paper. I
>predict big problems.

I don't know that I agree. Many jurisdictions today have
precinct-based scanner systems, where the voter has to insert their
ballot into the scanner. I haven't heard of problems with those.

Of course, the feed on those scanners is custom-designed by the
vendors. You're planning to use COTS printers, so Ellen's proposal has
to work with COTS sheet-feeders. At work we have Lexmark Optra S 1855
printers. They have a sheet-feed capability that seems fairly simple
to use. Of course, those printers are probably a lot more expensive
than your design point. I don't know what kind of sheet feeders are
available in inexpesive printers.

>A person with gout will have a tough time. Others with any of a number of
>disabilities will have trouble with it.

There are no privacy issues with assisting someone in inserting a blank
ballot into a printer, so I don't see this as an important factor.
Once the paper is there, they can still vote privately. Of more
concern is if someone will need help getting the paper into the privacy

On the other hand, no one expects a voting system to be accessible no
matter what the disability or set of disabilities. Some people are
going to require assistance no matter what. (For example, HAVA doesn't
require voting machines to be accessible to someone who is both vision-
AND hearing-impaired. Helen Keller would still require assistence to

>Even perfectly capable people will
>fail to insert the paper far enough--when they go to print, the printer
>won't grab the paper.

Presumably the printer will detect this as a "no paper" condition
and not attempt any printing.

>Some people will get it in a little crooked and their
>ballot will be mangled.

Then they declare it to be "spoiled" and try again.

>Pollworkers will spend a lot of time assisting people with this and the
>people being assisted will feel dumb and will be turned off by the system.

That's speculation.

>I'm not saying it's unworkable, but large scale human factors testing would
>be needed before using this live.

As will the entire EVM. But first, start with small-scale human
factors testing. Check out the single sheet-feed capability of various
COTS printers.

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:48 2004

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