Re: Hand count elections

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Nov 27 2007 - 16:09:08 CST

I think there may be an important way that OVC might be able to facilitate handcount elections.

As I see it, a primary obstacle to handcount election efficiency is the proliferation of ballot styles that a single precint may encounter. That is, in many precints voters receive different ballots depending on which district, school board, city, ... they reside in.

What you would like in theory is if to as great an extent as possible, the same questions on different ballot styles appear in exactly same point on the printed page. Then it will be very quick for the counters to count them by eye. But it is likely with crowded ballots that such an ideal layout is not possible.

OVC since it uses a summary ballot can in principle produce a more compact, space efficient ballot, that might be able to more closely achieve that layout.

To see how layouts can be effcient consider the following method for counting paper ballots.
1) for a given race, sort a stack of ballots into piles based on which candidate or outcome was chosen
2) A second judge picks up each stack and riffle the deck to see that all the ballots share the same markings. As you know from childhood experience you can easily spot errors in a set of items that way.
3) then both judges count each stack. If the numbers don't agree they know precisely which stack is the problem. They are not redoing all the intial sorting when recounting. One could even weigh the stacks as a final reality check.
4) repeat for the next race.

Thus the big savings here is from separating the steps of segregating and counting so that one can confirm each step independently.

That approach gets inefficient if at step 1 one is perpetually subdividing the ballots according to ballot styles.

OVC if it's summary ballot could help make dissimilar ballot styles have as similar a layout as possible then could facilitate this.

Additionally, the OVC system with it's bar codes could allow a wand style recount of each stack as well for greater traceability and external auditing of the counting.

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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:28 2007

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