Skip to main content

View Diary: How to Repair the Voting System: Sec. Debra Bowen's Answer (302 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  op-scan is usu better for voter verification (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, barath, MindRayge

    I'm not one of those VVPAT fatalists. But we know from research that large fractions of voters don't spontaneously check VVPATs, and don't necessarily notice deliberately induced errors. (It should be hard to steal an election that way as long as some voters check.) So, I don't think your point about seeing calibration errors is the one big difference -- or even necessarily the most important difference -- as a voter.

    Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
    Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

    by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 07:55:54 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  My point was (0+ / 0-)

      If there is a calibration issue with the touchscreen system a voter has a chance to actually see it.

      With the Optical Scanner there is absolutely no way for a voter to see a calibration issue.

      I happen to think that is an important distinction.

      But I am coming from an equipment point of view and the issues that keep coming up every time people get worried about Ohio every election. My main contention is that people get all worked up about the DRE machines without realizing that the way Optical Scan systems are set up to process the ballots is not all that different in any meaningful way from how the DRE ballots are set up for processing.  The issue of the "rogue programmer" or deliberate software changes to steal elections - the basis of many a diary around here especially concerning Ohio - doesn't go away with Optical Scan systems.

      In either form the VVPAT or paper ballot that was scanned is available for audit or recount purposes. Since those are the only situations where ballots may be counted by hand you end up with the case where VVPAT or paper ballot for optical scan is at best a case of user pacification and a voter perception issue rather than a bona fide argument of which may be better to use.

      •  I'm not sure we are communicating (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MindRayge

        I said:

        So, I don't think your point about seeing calibration errors is the one big difference -- or even necessarily the most important difference -- as a voter.
        I didn't say it wasn't important.
        My main contention is that people get all worked up about the DRE machines without realizing that the way Optical Scan systems are set up to process the ballots is not all that different in any meaningful way from how the DRE ballots are set up for processing.
        I'm sure some people don't understand that. I've been more struck by how many people don't realize that DREs can have VVPATs that are actually usable, or -- even weirder to me -- how many people argue that paper ballots are basically useless if you're using optical scanners. I do think most people who weigh in here understand that DREs and optical scanners are both computers, and both can go wrong, even if they don't know the details.
        Since those are the only situations where ballots may be counted by hand you end up with the case where VVPAT or paper ballot for optical scan is at best a case of user pacification and a voter perception issue rather than a bona fide argument of which may be better to use.
        Well, no. I think it's absolutely a bona fide argument that people who hand-mark their ballots generally have looked at the ballots -- whereas people who vote on DREs with VVPATs may or may not have looked at the VVPATs. That and other technical criticisms of VVPATs are not matters of "user pacification."

        However, I think any voter-verifiable paper record >> no paper record. The difference between VVPATs -- if they meet some minimal quality standard -- and full-size paper ballots is comparatively smaller.

        Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
        Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

        by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 01:30:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, we are not communicating (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HudsonValleyMark

          My main comment was to the diary and was addressing the "simple answer".

          So my comment was geared to the notion that somehow Optical Scan was better due to the reasoning postulated by the diarist, particularly items 1 and 2. I didn't address 3.

          From there you and I are down the path where you are discussing whether or not one system offers the prospect of the voter actually looked at the ballot with more likelihood than the other. I agree with what you say. This is the part where we were talking past each other.

          However, no matter how many times you looked at your paper ballot, if it goes into an optical scanner that isn't calibrated correctly all of that is for naught. All you got out of the experience was the pacification that you had a ballot in your hand and marked the way you wanted - unaware that those carefully marked and looked at ballot selections won't be counted as you intended.

          This is in no way different than someone that would feel comfortable using a DRE, was confident of their choices, reviewed them, confirmed the VVPAT and cast their ballot. They too would have been pacified by the experience of the VVPAT.

          So it is in the context of a miscalibrated or compromised machine, whether the scanner or DRE, that renders the VVPAT or ballot as merely a user pacifier because it either case one or more of your selections will not be counted as you intended. By the same token this is also true in a system, scanner or DRE, where the voter knows with certainty that the selections will be counted as intended.

          While it (ballot or paper tape) becomes a record of the vote in most states it is never examined except if an audit or recount is mandated by law or by a court with jurisdiction. If neither of those occurs the paper ballot or the portion of the paper tape containing your ballot viewed via VVPAT served no other purpose than as a user pacifier.

          In the context of whether paper ballot or a VVPAT is better in terms of a voter actually looking at and verifying their selections I agree with you. There is a difference, absolutely.  

          One thing I do want to make clear is that I am not defending VVPAT nor expressing any argument that it is better than use of optical scan paper ballots. If given a choice between the two I would always choose optical scan with paper ballots.

          •  OK -- we may disagree on part of this (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MindRayge
            While it (ballot or paper tape) becomes a record of the vote in most states it is never examined except if an audit or recount is mandated by law or by a court with jurisdiction. If neither of those occurs the paper ballot or the portion of the paper tape containing your ballot viewed via VVPAT served no other purpose than as a user pacifier.
            I don't agree with that statement in principle. A well-designed audit provision protects everyone, not just the people whose ballots happen to be examined. Good recount provisions benefit everyone, even when they aren't used.

            So I try to draw a bright line about when paper is or isn't a placebo.

            Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
            Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

            by HudsonValleyMark on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:02:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site