Friday, January 18, 2008

Voting Video Demo Full Face Choice Anybody See Votes Cast Counted Accurately?

A video accompanies the online article about Northampton County selecting the Sequoia full face direct recording electronic and touch screen voting system. The DRE is considered a paperless ballot system as it doesn't produce a paper auditable trail, nor does the system include the voter marking a paper ballot. Critics across the country remain unconvinced that the DRE ballots accurately cast a voter's ballot. Especially in the wake of noted vote-flipping instances across Pennsylvania using touch-screen electronic voting systems, awareness has been raised along with increasing objections to paperless voting.

Were the council members who voted yes assured by testing the system that their vote was cast and counted accurately? How could they be? There is no paper ballot marked by the voter. A machine marks the ballot, and a machine counts the ballot. Even if there were a paper trail the voter is supposed to review after selections are made and the ballot is actually cast, there is still no assurance that ballot would be recorded accurately and thus counted accurately.

A paper audit trail sounds nice, but it has no real chance of proving a ballot was marked as intended or cast as intended, particularly in regard to an under-voted ballot where no selections are made by the voter. Florida is still trying to determine whether thousands of DRE cast blank races were due to machine malfunction or voter intent.

Rush Holt, New Jersey Congressman, appears to be moving in a direction somewhat different than only the paper audit trail for the DREs this time around. Still, his bill permits for compensation for the DREs to be retrofitted with a paper audit trail, and that appears to be what is ok to consider as a "paper" "record."

How can a DRE marked record be a paper record? The paper so-marked is visible by the voter, but still, the voter is not absolutely assured the ballot inside the machine, the digital ballot, was recorded as the voter cast the ballot.

Holt's new legislation needs clarification.

He notes the instance in Florida where thousands of unmarked ballots produced on a DRE are under dispute. But he doesn't seem to understand the same would happen even with DREs that produce a paper audit trail. So say there would be blank races on the DRE cast ballot? So there is a paper trail that shows such blanks.

It would be the same situation in a dispute. Did the voter intend to leave a few key races blank, and choose not to select from the listed candidates, nor choose to conduct a DRE write-in? Or were these blanks DRE machine malfunction?

Same dispute.

Net the Truth Online

Notable discussion BBV Forum

Black Box Voting » Citizen Reports from the Front Lines » Front Lines Archive » (PA) and (CA) - Need more input on the AutoMark ...In general, the technology that Black Box Voting favors must involve the voter marking their own ballot rather than "verifying" it, because that second step, having to "verify" an interpretation produced by a machine introduces a number of undesirable variables (many voters don't verify; it requires assertiveness to call a poll worker's attention to a problem; many of the "VVPAT" applications designed by vendors have tiny print and are difficult to verify...)

Also, Black Box Voting is not in favor of nontransparent methods of counting votes. The AutoMark is preferable to a traditional DRE because it produces a paper record, but the next step -- putting it through an ES&S M100 -- brings us right back to the issues with reliability, accuracy, auditing and secret programming in the optical scan machines.

Examples of using technology to improve citizen oversight: Black Box Voting favors the idea of releasing the digital images of ballots as public records. These are produced by Hart Intercivic optical scanners and the Diebold High Speed Central Count scanner. These images should be made available promptly to citizens, the media and political parties -- ideally, put on the Web or produced on CDs within a day or two and well before the election is certified. However, even long after the election, Black Box Voting has been turned down on various ridiculous excuses when we asked for these public record ballot images, and we will be litigating this...

January 17, 2008, 5:16 pm
Congressmen Push for Paper Ballots
By Ariel Alexovich

Speaking at a news conference in Washington this afternoon, Mr. Holt said there’s still time to make sure the 2008 presidential election doesn’t see the same voting controversy as happened in Florida in 2006, when some 18,000 electronically recorded ballots were marked “no vote,” and there was no accounting for what happened.

This bill, called the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, is a modified version of a bill Mr. Holt introduced last year that would have required a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast, in addition to random auditing. Since that more all-encompassing bill is still awaiting the House floor, Mr. Holt introduced this one, which moves from a paper ballot mandate to a paper ballot enticement...

County: It's Sequoia by a landslide
With lone holdout, council picks new voting machine vendor.
By Joe Nixon | Of The Morning Call
January 18, 2008

A new voting system will greet Northampton County voters when they cast ballots in the April 22 primary.

County Council on Thursday accepted a recommendation made earlier in the day by the county Election Commission to purchase 300 electronic voting machines from Sequoia Voting Systems. The company provides the same machines in Montgomery County.

The company scored the highest in rankings compiled by county elections staff and others after all five voting machine companies certified in Pennsylvania displayed their wares Tuesday, said John Conklin, the county's director of administration...

...The AVC Advantage machine from Sequoia is a ''full face'' one, meaning it displays the entire ballot at once. A paper overlay ballot displays candidate names, which are aligned with the buttons of the electronic system. Just over half the units will be equipped with systems, including audio, to accommodate handicapped voters.

Northampton will buy refurbished units for $4,550 each, saving $3,000 per unit over the cost of a new unit. County Voting Machine Supervisor Howard Erney said the refurbished units will have all new internal components and a two-year warranty...,0,5272650.story

County picks new electronic voting machines
Sequoia voting machines resemble lever machine ballots.
Friday, January 18, 2008
The Express-Times

EASTON | Since Northampton County can't use lever machines in the primary, officials chose the next best thing: a touch screen system that mimics a lever machine ballot.

County council voted 7-1 Thursday to buy Sequoia Voting Systems machines, which feature the entire ballot on one large touch screen and a privacy curtain.

Councilman Ron Angle cast the only "no" vote. Angle said he wanted to wait to see if the state legislature decided to require voting machines to produce paper records before he chose a final system for the county.

"I don't think waiting six months will hurt anything," Angle said. Council member Wayne Grube was absent.

The county election commission unanimously supported buying Sequoia machines...

Holt Bill "Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008" HR 5036


Legislation Would Reimburse State and Local Jurisdictions
That Opt in for Paper Ballots and/or Audits January 17, 2008

HR 5036

The text of HR 5036 has not yet been received from GPO

Rush Holt Open Secrets Campaign Finance Report 2000

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