Re: Another question: do we want machine-marked ballots for everybody?

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Mon May 25 2009 - 14:18:41 CDT

Jim, there is reasonable disagreement on whether to have
machine-marked paper ballots and hand-marked paper ballots.
Certainly hand-marked paper ballots are needed in most jurisdictions
that allow voting by mail. My preference is that an open voting
system support both approaches, that the precinct-based optical
scanner validate the ballot if it is hand-marked, and that the
jurisdictions can decide on the kinds of ballots and mix of machines
they want in the precincts.

Ideally the optical scanner will tell the voter in an accessible
manner how it interpreted the ballot, to help catch when there are
problems correctly scanning the ballots in the precincts.

Whether the first production quality open voting system has all of
these features initially is an open question. But I will take this
opportunity to open up a discussion on architectural issues in an
initial open voting system.

Some day soon I'll write up what I would consider to be the
architecture of an ideal open voting system based on currently
available technology.

Best regards,

At 10:40 AM -0700 5/25/09, Jim March wrote:
>One way to radically drop hardware costs is to have fewer ballot
>marking stations per precinct, and supply most voters with a blank
>ballot that they do their own "fill in the bubble" with. The same two
>or three stations that can provide these blank ballots CAN act as
>ballot printers taking in a blind voter's vote, so whenever a blind or
>otherwise disabled voter comes in, just divert one of the three ballot
>printing stations for their use.
>You've now dropped your total number of stations from six-to-ten (per
>precinct) down to three. (And the precinct could run OK on two, so
>you have some hardware redundancy.)
>Obviously, you now HAVE to do graphic scanning at the precinct as an
>end-of-day process, with software that then reads the bubble position
>marks. That's not hard. And by dropping the number of PCs, you've
>now more than paid for the precinct graphical scanner device plus one
>or two DVD writers to burn results to.
>The reason I'm queasy about machine-marked paper ballots is, well,
>people suck at proof-reading with up to an 80% failure rate - and it
>gets higher the further down the ticket you get (judges, etc.).
> >From both a safety and cost perspective, doesn't this make more sense?

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Received on Sun May 31 23:17:05 2009

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