Brand new concept in audit trails

From: Jim March <jmarch_at_prodigy_dot_net>
Date: Tue May 03 2005 - 22:05:21 CDT


Bev Harris has been pushing me hard on various OVC issues, but mainly
the area of "auditability by Aunt Millie" - in other words, can a
totally techno-incompetent PC-less person trust the election when it was
done electronically?

Well she and I came up with an answer.

First, this is assuming we're dealing with an "all OVC" system rather
than a preliminary "stopgap tabulator replacement".

The "terminal" people vote on is the type of box we've been discussing,
printing on 8.5x11 paper, etc. It prints the paper ballot which is the
official ballot of record.

But here's the trick: we print TWO copies of the paper ballot.

One is white and looks just like the demo ballot Alan has been using at
speeches as a prop - but it's marked "BOX ONE" across the top, big letters.

The other copy...well it could be produced by carbon, or from a second
printer. Either way, it's visibly a different color, it's marked "BOX
TWO", and it's got three pre-punched holes down one side so it can go in
a binder later.

And that's the key. "Box one" ballots go into that box, which goes back
to county elections HQ. "Box two" end up in binders, one or two binders
per precinct depending on turnout, precinct size, etc.

The binders can be "checked out and inspected" at a county office by
interested members of the public - in the same fashion, I can already go
down to a county election office and say "show me the campaign finance
binders for the mayor for 2003" or whatever.

NOW the public can genuinely audit elections. They can spot check
whatever precints they want, for at least 22 months post-election.

As we got to this point, Bev got all happy and excited :).

This is of course combined with everything else we've been plotting -
the CD-R audit lots, hashed data and programs, etc.

Granted, there's some extra costs. BUT the savings from running OVC
gear vs. Diebold/ES&S/etc is so extreme it'll more than make up for the
cost increase in paper handling which I would submit isn't that big a deal.

The more I think about it, the more I think carbons or two-part forms
from one printer are the answer. The counties are used to buying
pre-printed ballots. These would be simpler - two sheets are produced,
the only text on each are the "BOX ONE/BOX TWO" thing (or "BALLOT OF
RECORD/PUBLIC AUDIT COPY" if you like), and it goes into one box to be
separated later.

What else...the "official copy" would be white to aid in OCR down the
road. The "public view copy" for the binders would be a different color.


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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:15 2005

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