Re: ACLU of Florida analysis of racial impact of Miami DRE's

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Sun Nov 16 2003 - 18:31:48 CST

On Nov 16, 2003, at 5:50 PM, Dennis wrote:

> In particular, there were a number of folks that possibly left the
> voting
> both without clicking the final 'CAST YOUR BALLOT' button. Poll workers
> were supposed to check for that, but either didn't at all or missed
> quite
> a few. I can believe that they were busy doing other tasks.

This human-factors error is compounded by state laws in some states.
If a voter abandons his ballot in a voting booth (paper or electronic)
the laws in some states require the polling place workers to void that
ballot, while the laws in other states require the polling place workers
to collect that ballot and treat it as voted.

> In any case, this was quite a problem. Anyone know of a way to solve
> it?

Administrative rules ought not penalize the voter in this case!
Therefore,
if a voter abandons a ballot, the polling place workers, on finding the
abandoned ballot ought to put it in the ballot box (or its analog under
other voting technologies).

There are lots of arguments about this if you get together with the
folks who write state administrative rules. What if the voter left
intending the vote to be discarded? This is really bunkum. We know
for a fact that voters get confused by human factors issues and always
have. Consider the voter who simply leaves a voting booth without
opening the curtain on an old mechanical lever machine. Easy to do,
and chances are, that voter thought he'd voted.

> Of course if there is a separate optical scan ballot reader that the
> voters cast their printed ballot into, this is not a problem.

It is too. If the voter walks out with his ballot, he might think
he's voted (he went through all the motions at the voting machine),
but in fact, we need to convince him to drop that printed ballot in
the box. I guarantee you that some voters will think that sheet of
paper is a receipt that they're supposed to keep.

                                Doug Jones
                                jones@cs.uiowa.edu
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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:03 2003

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