Re: BBV FOIA requests

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Nov 16 2004 - 12:55:10 CST

The point is to restore democracy in the USA. The point is that whoever
runs the election controls the outcome. If the people conduct their own
elections, with assistance of public servants in Boards of Elections,
then the people will control the outcome. If computers conduct
elections, then whoever controls the computers will control the outcome.
Elections can't be "trust-me" processes and still retain integrity for
long. Voters who trust Diebold or OVC or any other person/entity, are
all in the same boat--they participate in a ritual, but have abdicated
their proper role of control via participation and oversight. OVC's
strength is to use computers in a way that does not displace people from
their central role of being able to control the election. As soon as we
trust the "good" computer people such as OVC rather than the "bad"
computer people such as paperless DRE vendors, we are still trusting and
forgetting what democracy is.

Democracy is, in Abe Lincoln's words, "Government of the people, by the
people, for the people." If it is not "of" and "by" it won't be "for."

This is all to say, what is wrong with hand-marked hand-counted paper
ballots, with computerized ballot-printing or ballot-marking machines
(such as from OVC) for voters who cannot directly, personally mark their
paper ballot? What is wrong with hand-counting, other than that not
enough competent dedicated people participate in the conduct of
elections these days?

Teresa Hommel

Josef Stalin: "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes!"
Anastasio Samoza: "You won the vote, but I won the count."
Boss Tweed: "As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do
about it?"

David Mertz wrote:

> 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
> itself.
>
> 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 23:17:33 2004

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