Re: Re: Emergency Measures To Protect The 2004 Vote Count (EM2004)

From: Ellen Theisen <ellent_at_olympus_dot_net>
Date: Mon Sep 06 2004 - 17:25:25 CDT

I talked to a 30-year election judge in Austin just this morning. She has
worked with hand-counts, punch cards, and now eSlate. She says the eSlates
are by far the most complicated and unpleasant to use. She says that it's
very easy to train people to hand count, and that she has conducted hand
counts many times and it's not a big deal. She pointed out that it actually
reduces some problems, like adjusting a scanner to accept humidity-swollen
cards and dealing with the perfectly good ballots the scanners spit out
because they were marked with lavendar ink or had an X instead of filling in
the bubble. She also says it takes less time than many people think,
especially with only two or three races to count.

There are written procedures in place for hand-counting. Many US counties
still do it by hand. I have obtained some written procedures and guidelines
and will be receiving others early next week from paper ballot counties.
This doesn't have to be recreated from scratch.

I know it is a big hurdle, but the more people I talk to about it, the more
it sounds like it's not the tremendous hurdle it seems like at first.

**On another note, this judge also said that in her training for this year,
they told her she was NOT ALLOWED to point people to the right precinct if
it was clear they were in the wrong one. Instead she is supposed to give
them a provisional ballot, which won't be counted. She thought this might be
in HAVA because they made it sound that way. I don't think that rule is in
HAVA. Am I wrong?

Ellen Theisen

Avoid a national crisis in November!
Hand counted paper ballots for federal offices.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas W. Jones" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2004 6:10 PM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] Re: Emergency Measures To Protect The 2004
Vote Count (EM2004)

> On Sep 3, 2004, at 10:05 PM, Ellen Theisen wrote:
> > There are well developed procedures in counties that count paper
> > ballots by
> > hand every election. In fact, counties that occasionally do manual
> > recounts
> > by hand have procedures for doing them. While they may not do them
> > often,
> > they have established ways of doing them when they need to. I have
> > spoken
> > with several election directors of the paper ballot counties. One said
> > the
> > procedures were so simple and obvious her county didn't even have
> > written
> > versions. While the procedures for using electronic voting are very
> > complicated and need a great deal of training, showing people how to
> > read
> > the vote on a ballot, or mark a tick mark on a tally sheet really goes
> > fast.
> I agree that precinct-count hand counted paper ballots can be done well.
> The problem is, getting the procedures for doing so down, well
> documented,
> disseminated and accepted in time for November.
> Where people have been hand counting, they are clearly up to it. Where
> they have not, they need to be trained up to speed, and even where the
> procedures are simple, everyone involved has to agree on them, so they
> must
> be in writing and they must be exposed to widespread inspection and
> discussion
> well in advance of the election.
> This is not a small hurdle!
> Doug Jones
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Thu Sep 30 23:17:03 2004

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