Re: How difficult is software? [Re: OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 37, Issue 18]

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Tue Nov 27 2007 - 04:02:03 CST

Electronic Ballot Printers are preferable to DRE's for those who are
unable (or unwilling) to mark a paper ballot without assistance.
Electronic Ballot Printers are preferable to Electronic Ballot
Markers, as the latter can jam easily. Hand-marked paper ballots are
best for those who are able and willing to mark them. Plus, the
capacity problem is solved. You can many more people concurrently
marking ballots than voting on DRE's. And it's easy to expand
capacity when needed. The long lines in Ohio when there weren't
enough DRE's and many of those broke down, convinced me that it is
important to allow people to vote by any means necessary.

When my precinct was running out of paper trail tapes and paper
ballots, and "county central" told me I was on my own, I sent a poll
worker to Kinko's to make more ballots. We had 15 people voting at
once at one time. And the Registrar of Voters reimbursed me for the
cost of copying ballots.

Best regards,
Arthur

At 10:30 PM -0800 11/26/07, Ronald Crane wrote:
>Hamilton Richards wrote:
>> To be sure, most voters can use pen and paper, but electronic ballot
>> printers have their advantages:
>>
>> + there's no expensive inventory of blank ballots to be printed
>> and securely stored
>> before the election
>>
>> + disabilities and alternative languages are accommodated more easily
>>
>> + overvotes can be prevented, and undervotes can be detected
>>
>> + unlike ballots marked by hand, in which the voter's intent can
>> be obscured by stray marks
>> and other mistakes, machine-marked ballots can be read,
>> manually or by machine, with
>> extremely high accuracy
>>
>> + machine-printed ballots eliminate a time-honored technique for
>> fraudulently disqualifying
>> ballots by surreptitiously adding stray marks (e.g., using
>> bits of pencil lead hidden under
>> vote counters' fingernails)
>>
>> Whether these advantages are worth the cost is open to debate, but
>> they should be debated and not simply ignored.
>>
>EBPs also have disadvantages:
>
>* They're vulnerable to attacks that modify the ballot or that modulate
>the difficulty of selecting certain candidates. Since these attacks
>trick or coerce the voter into making certain selections, she will not
>notice any inconsistency between her (final) intent and the printed
>ballot, rendering "voter verification" meaningless.
>
>* They're vulnerable to attacks that simply misprint the ballot (and
>store corresponding electronic records, if any). The existing studies
>(e.g., Selker) show that most voters don't "verify" paper trails, and
>those who do tend to miss most defects.
>
>* They're vulnerable to delay- and denial-of-service attacks, which can
>cause selective vote loss.
>
>* They're expensive to buy, store, deploy, and maintain (though
>open-source machines might be less so than proprietary ones), and
>require more training than many pollworkers are willing or able to absorb.
>
>There's something to be said for EBPs for those who need assistance to
>vote independently. There's much less to be said for them for the
>general voting population, and more to be said against them.
>
>> Such control software is actually *in control*, and if it screws up
>> there's often no way for a human to intervene. Voting software, on
>> the other hand, *can* be used in such a way that screwups can be
>> detected and corrected before any harm is done.
>>
>Not always. An attacker can perpetrate much mischief upon a voter left
>alone with a machine. See above.
>
>-R
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:27 2007

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