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Are paper ballots really a solution? Only if we have good paper

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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 09:01 PM
Original message
Are paper ballots really a solution? Only if we have good paper
Edited on Sun Aug-20-06 09:03 PM by Melissa G
and a transparent process! We were talking about this today at our party in Austin. Our election official is checking into paper ballots for Travis county which could be a good thing if we make sure these problems below and some others are solved and we get the process transparent and verifiable..
This from a report from Diebold DRE Analysis -- Cuyahoga County, OH 2006 Primary (ESI)..

DU discussion here...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Ballots

Issues encountered in reading ballots were physical problems endemic to the paper medium. Issues encountered either in the course of trying to read a specific ballot or in the course of reviewing the entire VVPAT were manifold. ESI also asked the recount team to record and describe anomalies found on the VVPATs. Some examples of such issues and anomalies include:

Blank VVPAT that is, VVPATs with nothing printed on them

Accordion-style crumpling of the VVPAT

Inexplicable long blank spaces

Torn VVPAT and VVPATs joined together with tape

Printing anomalies (faded ink or irregular ink distribution)

Text missing from VVPATs

In each case, the physical integrity of the ballot is compromised. As, under Ohio law, the paper receipt is considered the official ballot (see appendix), the fact that the physical ballots were in so many cases destroyed means that ballots would be lost in a recount or contest.
Specifically, the manual count team reported the following:

Six VVPATs (1.4 percent) of the total VVPAT Cartridges were blank. In one of these cases, the transfer case that was supposed to be used to deliver the ballots on Election Nights contained one empty canister.

Forty-three (10.4 percent) of the VVPATs were physically compromised in any of the following ways:

smeared print, torn paper, crumpled or folded paper, paper taped together, blank spaces or printer anomalies Printer problems were not evenly distributed throughout but rather were clustered in particular vote centers. For example, 18 vote centers experienced 100 percent of the printer errors (4 vote centers experienced 46% of the printer errors).

-snip-
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. How many of the machine counted votes were able to be read?
Not a single one. 100% failure
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sonias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thermal paper is very bad for Texas humidity
And that's exactly what Hart Intercivic uses. You would think a company headquartered in Texas - Austin, TX would have thought better. But no, that's the problem they are lazy and don't think.

I would really like to see us go back to optical scan. Mark the oval. Paper and pencil last a long time.

Sonia
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. and don't cost near as much! no expensive maintenance and reprogramming
needed! Has the abilitry to go to a more transparent ,verifiable process..in short, SO MUCH BETTER!
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TexasLinda Donating Member (283 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Minnesota uses paper and optical scan machines, plus
the ES&S AutoMark to meet HAVA disability requirements. The Minnesota League of Women Voters were the main force behind getting the national League to support a paper trail.
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Some paper trail is better than no paper trail..
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 11:40 PM by Melissa G
but a paper trail that is incomplete and will not stand up to the rigors of a recount such as the thermal paper 'toilet paper rolls" which so often used as they were in the case of the OP... well,...that is still a problem.
Still it is better than nothing.. we just need to remember it is not a real solution and the OP shows one example of why.
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-25-06 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I don't think it's better than nothing
I know no one agrees with me on this. Funny thing, way back in 2002 when were first started talking about BBV, I suggested paper printouts alongside e-voting, before I heard anyone else suggest it. So I was on that bandwagon before there was a bandwagon. But I'm not completely on it anymore. What happens when we have a close election and we count the paper ballots, and the totals don't match? What happens when we discover an equal number of errors in the paper ballots as in the BBV registers? What happens when we have to decide whether to trust incomplete paper ballots--there will be problems, no printer has ever failed to fail at some point--or possibly corrupt e-votes? We will in essence have two elections, with two possible outcomes. WHo decides then? You know it will go to the Supreme Court, and they will again choose our president.

We need one or the other. I still think e-voting can be safer and more accurate than paper with full transparency, but if people are just too suspicious, we should use paper only. Given that different systems have different failure rates, even allowing more than one type of system is violating the Equal Protect clause of the Constitution, as it was interpreted in Bush v Gore. We need one system for all precincts. And we need a system we can trust, not one that we must add additional uncertainty to to feel comfortable. The e-voting with a paper trail is just one more excuse for Repubs to throw the whole thing into a court to allow Republican judges to pick their candidates.

Just my thoughts. As I said, no one seems to agree with me. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong.
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-26-06 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. jobycom, I agree we need to toss the machines out..
Edited on Sat Aug-26-06 07:58 PM by Melissa G
you will get no argument from me on that count! :toast:

We differ that the machines are a good way to go. Check out this thread on ballot definition files..
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Paper ballots printed on toilet paper thermal rolls will not stand up to a recount.
check out this article quoted in the op

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

This other article is really better about what is important about the study

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

The fact is we don't have transparent ,verifiable elections we can have any faith in.

edit clarity
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Smarty Pants Liberal Donating Member (267 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-27-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Ahem, I agree, sorta
Since we're forced to use the stinkin machines I'd like to see enough printers purchased for good random parallel testing but even Dan Wallach says we ought to go back to paper.
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Melissa G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-27-06 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Hand counted paper ballots counted in a verifiable, transparent
process works for me!
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