Re: Can we talk details about adding Humboldt-style scanning to the OVC project?

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Mon May 25 2009 - 11:47:26 CDT

Dear Jim, I have been supportive of publishing ballots (like the
Humbolt approach), for several years now. I have been an advocate of
scanning and publishing results of all ballots at the source of
scanning, dating back to before my OSCON 2007 talk. Please read my
talk:
http://www-db.stanford.edu/pub/keller/2007/OSCON2007-OpenSourceVoting.pdf

Best regards,
Arthur

At 12:32 AM -0700 5/25/09, Jim March wrote:
>Folks,
>
>As I understand the current OVC system model, the plan is to do a
>precinct-level tally by scanning the ballots at the precinct as an
>end-of-day procedure. This would match up with California law
>requiring such a tally be posted.
>
>The plan at present is to do the scanning via the barcode printed on
>the ballots and a barcode scanner.
>
>What I want to discuss is doing the end-of-day scan as graphic images
>stored on optical media. In other words, "Humboldt-style".
>
>At the precinct, we'd be talking about a small extra expenditure in
>hardware. The precinct-central scanning station would need a basic
>scanner worth about $200, with auto-feed, and a second optical drive
>in that computer. The first drive could (and I would argue, should)
>be a read-only basic CD drive, while the second would be a full
>"writer" (likely DVD). This can burn multiple copies of the data for
>bystanders, with at least two cut for the county election HQ.
>
>The second drive would be about $40 tops, less in bulk.
>
>Against these hardware costs, we actually get some advantages as far
>as end-of-day procedures. The scanner will have a "hopper" of at
>least 30+ sheets, and auto-feed. So the pollworkers end up doing less
>work on scanning as opposed to hand-scanning each sheet.
>
>This would of course also apply to central tabulation, with a bigger
>scanner of course. Likely two or more to increase throughput and
>cover some redundancy failure. The advantage here is that with bigger
>hoppers of up to 500 sheets, handling of the mail-in vote becomes far
>more efficient than hand-waving bar code scanners.
>
>The Humboldt project itself used Fujitsu scanners worth about $18k.
>They had small dot matrix printers on board that could implant a code
>sequence on some unused area of paper just prior to scanning, so you
>could link a given graphic scan to a given sheet of paper later if
>needed.
>
>That won't be practical in precinct scanning I don't think, not unless
>we issue pollworkers some kind of hand-inker stamp thingie that
>increments one number on each "kachunka". That would add an extra
>step and I don't think it's critical.
>
>The other option as opposed to precinct graphic scanning is to haul
>the precinct ballots back to election HQ and run them through the same
>scanners that handled the mail-in vote. The advantage is that they'd
>get the same "sequence number stamp". The problem is that you then
>have to watch your paper transfers like a hawk.
>
>I prefer precinct scanning. I know for a FACT we're not going to get
>enough activists to watch every precinct paper transfer.
>
>All of this is about "worst case scenarios", when the elections
>managers are basically crooks. Which does happen.
>
>I know Alan thinks this is overkill. I've done too much election
>observation where the officials are malevolently evil to agree, and I
>hope to begin a rational conversation on this.
>
>Thanks,
>
>Jim March

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Received on Sun May 31 23:17:04 2009

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