Manual + Machines
Posted Aug 10, 2007 14:52 UTC (Fri) by filker0
Parent article: Securing our votes
A solution to the accessability problem, the paper trail, and the untrustability (is that a proper word?) of the current crop of electronic voting machines would be a hybrid system.
One idea is using the paper ballot that requires the voter to connect two bars with a solid line; this may require a felt tip pen with a specific ink, supplied at the voting place. The ballot is also provided with optical registration marks. For those that need a touch screen for accessability reasons, you have a machine that has a slot into which the ballot is inserted and a touch screen terminal. This displays the information and translates the voters interaction into a position on the paper, where it draws/prints a line. The optical registration marks allow the mechanism to print it in the correct place even if there are printing variations. Further confidence measures might include printing the position code as part of the bar, so malfunctioning printer registration mechanisms won't produce unuseable ballots. On an undervote, the voting machine requests confirmation, listing the unvoted for items, and marks the voter's confirmation (if the voter doesn't want to go back and vote for those issues/positions/whatever) on the ballot before it's released.
The paper ballot is then manually carried over to the ballot reader, scanned for a poll count, and deposited in a locked box. The voting machine itself is not required, and when used does not keep a tally of the vote itself. Only the poll counting unit counts and the paper ballots come out of the polling place. The voter can (and will be encouraged to) examine the machine filled (and manually filled) ballot before depositing it in the counter.
A single polling place could have one or more machines and lots of stations for manual marking. In case of a technical failure, the voting can continue with manual marking. The cases in Ohio in 2004, where some polling places had too few machines for the general election (though they had enough for the primary) would be mitigated, and the chances for fraud reduced.
Still, to some degree, no technical fix will prevent all vote rigging schemes, as the schemers have a fixed target each election cycle. An educated voting populace is our best defense.
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