Re: Focus on Rights

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sun Nov 11 2007 - 16:06:39 CST

I wasn't planning on posting them on the Internet. But I am
considering making them available on DVD. I've been told that
sometimes people scrawl manifestos on the ballot. And there is the
risk that someone might write a death threat to the President on a
ballot. So they can't be published on the Internet. Even if you
don't publish all the ballots, having a copy retained can help with

My idea is when the scanner accepts the ballot as valid (i.e., no
overvotes), then it prints a randomized tracking number (not visible
to the voter) on the ballot and links them to 3 records (the ballot
image, the identification of the optical scan marks, and an
interpretation of those marks to create an Electronic Ballot Record).

I'd also like for the voter to be able to check that the Electronic
Ballot Record matches the voter's intent (through a display or
through a headphone) as part of the ballot acceptance process. When
the voter accepts the interpretation of the ballot is correct, then
the ballot is cast (and the randomized tracking number is printed).

My reason for publishing the ballot images is to allow anyone to
recount the votes, not just the handcounters in the precinct
(assuming the results are hand counted when the polls close).

Best regards,

At 1:46 PM -0800 11/11/07, Barbara Simons wrote:
>I agree, Arthur, that vote buying/selling is easy with vote-by-mail
>ballots. Mail ballots also open the door to coercion, to say nothing of
>outright vote fraud. So, in all respects mail ballots are worse than
>precinct based paper ballot voting, which is why I think mail ballots
>should be allowed only for people who truly need them.
>However, it's not clear to me that it is necessary to scan ballots in
>order to reduce the risk of fraud. I'm sure you agree that mandatory
>random manual statistically significant audits are key, not only to
>significantly reducing the risk of fraud but also for catching bugs in
>the technology. The audit could be televised live, videotaped, etc. If
>we had the right kind of audits, I don't think we'd need to scan in all
>the ballots and post them on the internet.
>Arthur Keller wrote:
>> Barbara, yes, I'm aware of that problem. Plus one can deliberately
>> make stray marks. But vote selling can easily occur with
>> vote-by-mail ballots anyway (unless you allow election day overrides
>> of vote-by-mail ballots). The question is how you compare
>> vote-selling risk vs. voting-system error or fraud risk.
>> Best regards,
>> Arthur
>> At 10:05 AM -0800 11/11/07, Barbara Simons wrote:
> >> Hi, Arthur. One problem with scanning all the ballots and making those
> >> scans public is that it could facilitate vote selling, since the person
>>> selling his/her vote could make some highly unlikely set of choices on
>>> the ballot as a kind of signature.
>>> Regards,
>>> Barbara
>>> Arthur Keller wrote:
>>>> At 8:03 AM -0500 11/30/07, Arlene Montemarano wrote:
>>>>> The protection of our fragile rights should always the primary
>>>>> point of all that we do.
>>>> The question boils down to how we best safeguard those rights. If
>>>> you had the choice of hand-counted paper ballots only vs. paper
>>>> ballots that were electronically scanned in the precinct when the
>>>> voter casts the ballot and then hand counted at the end of the day
>>>> (i.e., both electronic and hand counts), which would you prefer?
>>>> (Assume the electronic counts are not released until the hand counts
>>>> are made.) Now suppose that the electronic scanner kept an image
>>>> copy of the ballot and that anyone could get a copy of all of those
>>>> images and hand or machine count those images to compare them to the
>>>> official vote count, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? Do
>>>> you oppose the inclusion of electronic systems if they supplement
>>>> rather than replace hand counting? Would you accept the idea that
> >>> the combination of electronic systems and hand counting can be more
> >> > secure and fraud or tamper resistent than hand counting alone?

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 Fri Nov 30 23:17:14 2007

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