Re: Reflections on the election and implications for the OVC

From: Robert Rapplean <robert_at_rapplean_dot_net>
Date: Thu Nov 04 2004 - 09:19:40 CST

Alan Dechert wrote:

>>Basically this is all a nightmare. I have concluded that (1) voting
>>machines are, and should be, very specialized computers, and that (2)
>>it is essentially hopeless to try to "borrow" PCs from another agency
>>to serve as voting machines.
>I have discussed this with many elections people and politicians over the
>past four years. I have to say that many (perhaps most) would agree with
>you. However, some of them feel that multi-purpose could work and makes
>sense from an economic point of view. There are trade-offs. If the
>logistics could be worked out, capital costs and warehousing could be
>practically eliminated.
Well, ok, but could it go the other way? Let's say the district
purchases voting machines that are custom designed for voting purposes,
but then lends them out to the schools for use the rest of the year.
It's been demostrated that computers really just need a USB port and
video port in order to be effective educational machines, and the USB
port could be readily disabled for use as a voting machine. If the
expense of reconfiguration is pushed off on the school district as part
of the "rent" for the machines, I think that there would still be a
considerable cost savings involved for them.

This only leaves processing speed and RAM as an issue, but not much of
one since both are cheap and getting cheaper. It might be worthwhile to
have two designs - one dedicated voting machine and one cross-purpose
voting machine, depending on how much the district wants to spend and
how well it gets along with its school districts.

I do agree that this is something that can be worked out after the fact,
but when designing the voting hardware it would be a good idea to
proactively maintain a USB port for this purpose.
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:08 2004

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