Re: BBV FOIA requests

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Mon Nov 08 2004 - 11:27:42 CST

On Nov 8, 2004, at 8:20 AM, Kathy Dopp wrote:
> position is that all of America should return to handcounted paper
> ballot
> and use NO electronic counting methods at all.

Y'know, there are a lot worse positions to hold than this! I'm not
saying Harris actually holds it, but it's -not- a terrible idea by

I have myself consistently held the position that while Electronic
Ballot Printers/Markers (to use Arthur's IEEE P-1583 terms) have some
potential advantages, I still am 100% happy with the wonderful
hand-counted pencil-marked paper ballots in my county. These hand
counts are always performed promptly and accurately at each polling
place, right after close. Admittedly, we're a fairly honest and
competent sort here in western New England.

I also don't buy that large cities make this same technique infeasible.
  Even in NYC, each precinct is moderately sized. It's not like a
half-dozen election workers have to count all 4 million ballots (or
whatever NYC casts). Instead, at each precinct, these half-dozen
election workers would count a few hundred (maybe a thousand, tops)
ballots, and report the results to higher levels. Through the miracle
of adding machines, these results can be combined relatively easily.

OVC's design -does- have some good things to it: multi-lingual;
blind-accessible; large-fonts if needed; prevention of overvotes and
unintentional undervotes; accommodation mobility disabled voters; etc.
Plain old paper and pencil is weaker in these areas. But I still think
of OVC as largely just a way to make the "computers are cool" freight
train barrel down less harmful tracks than those leading to proprietary
DREs. Not really something inherently necessary to start with.

However, I WILL say this about Harris, and Dill, and Mercuri, and a
number of others (Avi Rubin slightly):

   Voting integrity activists hitherto have only exposed the problems
   in electronic voting machines, the point, however, is to FIX them!

Or in other words, saying Diebold machines are badly done is fine...
let's start talking about building machines that are done right (paper
ballot, open source, security well planned).

Yours, David...
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:17 2004

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