Re: suggested proposals for federal election integrity legislation

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Thu Nov 30 2006 - 20:07:55 CST

At 4:41 PM -0800 11/30/06, Ron Crane wrote:
>Supervision by proxy experts is not "direct" supervision. We should
>prefer voting systems that can be effectively supervised by ordinary
>citizens for the reasons I've already enumerated. I'm perfectly fine
>with adding experts as another layer of protection, but not with
>making experts the primary (or, worse, the only) layer of

I am sympathetic with your position, but we obviously disagree. It
reminds me of the saying, "God can't be everywhere, therefore He made
mothers." In an ideal world there would be enough "mothers" to go
around. And "mothers" would know what to look for. I'm not sure
that's the case.

>Because long ballots exist, I am willing to countenance hand-marked
>machine-counted ballots (preferably counted by open-everything
>tabulators) supplemented with rigorous hand audits.

On that we can agree. How do we work towards that.

>Machine marking introduces a variety of security issues (e.g.,
>presentation frauds) and badly reduces transparency without giving
>non-disabled voters any significant benefit.

That's the camel's nose that begat HAVA under the tent (to badly mix
and mangle metaphors).

> I'd prefer deploying noncomputerized assistive devices (e.g., the
>Vote-PAD) for those who need them to vote independently. Though the
>Vote-PAD cannot assist every disabled voter, it seems that, with
>sufficient effort, someone could improve it enough -- while still
>avoiding computational intermediaries -- that we could call it

I'd like to see work along those lines.

One question is whether is hand-marked paper ballot or an OVC-style
printed summary ballot is easier for a voter to verify. Some
usability studies are in order here.

The proliferation of ballots styles in a primary means lots of
supplies are needed for hand-marked paper ballots. That's an
argument for blank ballot stock that can be used by electronic ballot
printers to produce printed summary ballots for the ballot style
desired by the voter. Similarly, early voting can be done more
easily on electronic ballot printers than hand-marked paper ballots
or the like.

Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:18 2006

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