Re: voting-project V1 #179

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 18:35:54 CDT

>Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 10:19:13 -0400
>From: "Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp)" <Laird.Popkin@wmg.com>
>Subject: RE: [voting-project] Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED

>To ask a naive question, why are pre-printed ballots a concern? People who
>want to vote a particular way can vote that way manually, so pre-printing by
>itself doesm't do any harm, and anyone being coerced (and watched) can
>simply enter the polling station with the pre-printed ballot, then print a
>real ballot and vote it (and discard the pre-printed ballot). Of course,
>pre-printing could slant elections anyway (give people a ride to the poll
>and a pre-printed ballot, and that'll probably be a bit more effective than
>if you gave people a ride and told them how to vote).

I think there is some confusion here (which I think Arthur may have
already clarified) between pre-printed ballot /stock/ and pre-printed
(or pre-marked) /ballots/. Pre-printed ballot stock refers to paper,
index, or card stock that the Election Official had ordered and sent to
the printers weeks before the election so that it would be available at
the polls on election day (and even earlier for absentee and early
voters). Once printed, it is tightly controlled. (Your optical scan
ballots, your hand-counted paper ballots, your DataVote punch cards,
even your PollStar and Votamatic punch cards are all pre-printed ballot
stock, because they all have at least the date of the election printed
on them.)

Pre-marked ballots (that is, ballots that the voter brings to the
polling place already filled out) are probably illegal in most
jurisdictions. (This term does not apply to an absentee ballot that
the voter filled out prior to election day and then turns in at the
polls.) I'm not going to recapitulate the whole history what used to
be called the Australian ballot; suffice it to say that there are very
good reasons for wanting ballots to be cast using a government-
controlled paper supply and not allowing any random person to print up
their own ballots. (You can search the net for "Australian ballot" if
you like. Or just go to
<http://www.fairvote.org/irv/vermont/c_history.htm> and search for
Australian) I'd also suggest that reopening this particular debate is
orthogonal to OVC's mission. If a jurisdiction allows people to bring
in their own ballots, they probably count them by hand anyway, as they
did in the pre-Australian ballot days.

--Steve
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:52 2004

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