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

From: Dennis <dpaull_at_svpal_dot_org>
Date: Sun Nov 16 2003 - 23:01:54 CST

Hi Doug,

You claim that some voters will be confused. That will depend on the
voter's previous experience. If they used to vote on a DRE, you are
right, but if they voted with an optical scan machine or a punch card,
probably not.

If the new machine prompts them to verify their ballot and deposit it
in the ballot box, and makes no representations that their vote is
counted electronically, I think only a very few voters will do it
wrong.

In my county, there are instructions posted on the inside back of the
booth, another way to help avoid problems. Also, poll workers are
instructed to make sure that voters deposit their ballots before
leaving.

I don't think this will be a problem. However, we have relatively few
voters (880) in our precinct and 3 or 4 poll workers. I understand
that some precincts have double or triple the voters. We have no more
than 4 or 5 voters in a line. Some precincts have many dozens. So a lot
depends on the non-techy aspects of running an election.

Dennis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
At 06:31 PM 11/16/2003 -0600, you wrote:
>
>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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