Securing our votes
Posted Aug 9, 2007 10:57 UTC (Thu) by NRArnot
In reply to: Securing our votes
Parent article: Securing our votes
Some voters will be short-sighted or have impaired vision, and won't be able to check a paper under a plexiglass cover, especially if printed in horrid OCR-A.
Better: print out an oldfashioned paper with a big X against the voter's chosen candidate, which he can view with a magnifying glass at a distance of three inches if he needs to, and then deposit in a ballot box. There should be no problem developing software that can locate a printed X in one of N boxes.
But still not good. You have increased the vulnerability of the election to rigging by pre-stuffed ballot boxes, since all papers will appear identically marked. The oldfashioned marked-by-hand paper is better, because no two voters will mark their X alike. It's far harder for one miscreant to produce 1000 convincingly differently handmarked votes, than 1000 identical printed ones.
A scanner can do a perfectly good fast first approximation sort and count of handmarked ballots, which in most elections will be good enough. When it's close, one then moves to iterative refinement, rechecking and recounting bundles of papers (by hand) over and over again (usually, the first recount suffices) until sufficient accuracy is attained.
Another improvement would be if the printer also sequentially numbered the papers it printed, starting at a random number not known before the polling station opened for business. This would make pre-stuffing easily detectable (and correctable). The problem would be convincing voters that it wasn't destroying the secrecy of their vote.
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