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Voter's Unite Responds to NYVV's Innaccurate and Incomplete "Fact (sic) Sheet"

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-20-09 11:24 PM
Original message
Voter's Unite Responds to NYVV's Innaccurate and Incomplete "Fact (sic) Sheet"


    VotersUnite takes no position in the debate on whether or not to replace lever
    machines in New York. Our goal is to make complete and accurate information
    available to those responsible
    for making decisions regarding elections.

New Yorkers for Verified Voting recently posted and publicized an analysis of HAVA
requirements to replace lever machines.1 Some individuals have asked VotersUnite to
respond to NYVVs assertion that:
    there are two sections of HAVA, Title I Section 102, and Title III Section 301, that are
    clear and unambiguous about the requirement to replace mechanical lever machines.

VotersUnite does not agree that these sections unambiguously require replacing levers.
NYVV first cites Section 301(a)(2), which requires that every voting system used in a
Federal election shall produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity for
such system. NYVV asserts that Lever machines have no such capability.


While NYVV is correct that many lever machines do not produce a paper record, the term
voting system is defined in HAVA Section 301(b) to include not only the equipment, but
also practices and associated documentation.
So, for example, HAVA explicitly states
that jurisdictions using hand-counted paper ballots and mail-in ballots may use voter
education to meet the requirement that a voting system must warn voters of overvotes.
The tally sheet on which poll workers manually record the results that they copy from a
lever machines mechanical counters is comparable to the tally sheet on which poll workers
record the results in jurisdictions that hand-count paper ballots. In hand-counted paper
ballot jurisdictions, this document and the practices of the poll workers in producing the
document are regarded as an integral part of the voting system.

With lever machines, the audit performed with the manually-copied tally sheets consists of
opening the locked lever machines and making visual comparison of the tally sheets to the
numbers on the machines counters, a procedure performed before observers. Also, we note
that the term audit in HAVA has been generally accepted to require significantly less
than it requires in the financial world; a reprint of a tally report by a Direct Record
Electronic (DRE) voting machine has been accepted as an audit of the original tally report.

The second section cited by NYVV is Section 102. NYVV asserts:
    HAVA Title I, Section 102 requires that states which take Federal funding to replace
    lever machines and punch card systems must use the funds to replace these machines.
    New York State has accepted and used these funds. HAVA clearly states that in this
    case lever machines must be replaced.

However, NYVV omits the fact that HAVA provides an alternative to replacing the machines.
Section 102(d) Repayment of Funds for Failure To Meet Deadlines states that if a jurisdiction
does not meet the deadline for replacing its punch card or lever system, it shall repay the
replacement funds. Note that this alternative does not include repaying Title II funds used for
meeting HAVA requirements, such as purchasing accessible devices.

1 http://www.nyvv.org/newdoc/2009/LeverMachinesAndHAVA020...

John Gideon and Ellen Theisen
Co-Directors
www.VotersUnite.org

(.pdf) http://www.wheresthepaper.org/ResponseToNYVVFactSheet.p...

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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. Are they all sleeping? Or are they just not doing their job
"VotersUnite does not agree that these sections unambiguously require replacing levers.
NYVV first cites Section 301(a)(2), which requires that every voting system used in a
Federal election shall produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity for
such system. NYVV asserts that Lever machines have no such capability.

Do they even know what they are talking about?

Come on Wilms.

Hand count the Paper Ballots and Hand Count them Ballots before they leave the polling place, its the American way, its that simple, this is getting to easy, but if you want to continue to sell this b*llsh*t, I will be here to expose your b*llsh*t.

Hand Count E'm if you got E'm.........




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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. hey, do you have hand counted paper ballots in your home town, county or state?
please advise - I want to know how successful you've been with that.

How long have you been working for HCPB in your local, and
what sort of organization are you working with?

What is your strategy in your location?

Looking forward to your answer.
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a777pilot Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Hand Count
Quote:

Hand count the Paper Ballots and Hand Count them Ballots before they leave the polling place, its the American way, its that simple, this is getting to easy, but if you want to continue to sell this b*llsh*t, I will be here to expose your b*llsh*t.

Hand Count E'm if you got E'm.........

Unquote.


Not wanting to bring religion into this but .... Amen!
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troubleinwinter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Welcome to DU, 777.
I wonder if you have done any study on your own county or state regarding implementing hand counting? How many precincts are in your area... how many more workers would be needed and trained?

Is your area similar to most of the country that has had a shortage of poll workers for many years? Do you have ideas about how to more than quadruple the workers in your area or across the country?

Do you think your community will support conscripting workers as is done with jurors (since volunteer and pay isn't doing the job, particularly in urban minority areas)? Does your county have public transportation (mine doesn't)?

Hand counting works in a few small areas. Will it work in yours? Mine? Los Angeles? Biloxi? Chicago?

We must address the real-life logistics of hand counting.

Pom-poms are colorful and light weight. We've had pom-poms waved at us here for years. We must work on actual game plans.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Hand Count E'm if you Got Em
you know whats going on.

Enough of their games.


:toast:
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. We in NC deliberately chose the term "voting system" to ensure
that all parts of the system, the machines, the software, the tabulator, everything -
had to meet our standards.

We also used the term "voting system" to avoid legislating the use of computers.

In our state, FWIW, hand counted paper ballots are labeled a "certified voting system".

Levers and their accompanying parts are voting systems.

I love NYVV to death, and they have done awesome work, without them NY would be
infected with a plague of DREs.

I also appreciate Voters Unite greatly, and believe that Levers are "part" of a voting system.
They don't have a paper ballot, but a paper trail.

The bottom line is that no man, no congress, should require a state to switch from a system like levers that has a very limited risk, to any form of computerized voting that has profound risk.

To require NY to ditch their levers today will mean buying some of the most unreliable pieces of
crap voting machines there are, likely the Sequoia Crap Machines, the duo combo scanner/ballot marking all in one.

I like to use an all in one printer/fax/scanner at home, but I do not want a combo voting machine
like the Sequoia Insight. That machine is more like a shoddy TV/DVD combo machine, if one part breaks the whole darn thing is screwed.

But in closing, I really HATE to see these two groups working against each other like this.

WYVBC

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. They are not working against each other. NYVV has mistated some facts and VU has corrected them.
VU has not taken a position on lever machine replacement. They believe this should be left up to New Yorkers.

NYVV believes it should be left up to NYVV.

Does NYVV hate DREs? You betcha! But it takes more than that to be an election integrity organization nowadays.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. yeesh
I agree that the auditability requirement in HAVA no more bans lever machines than it bans paperless DREs. Tough luck for any naifs who might think that an auditability requirement would, well, require auditability. (The author of the provision apparently thought that it mandated a voter-verifiable paper trail, but he needed to think harder.)

NYVV supports voter verification. The truth is, I like voting on lever machines, but I have no way of knowing whether my votes are counted. Lever voting isn't voter-verifiable. So, NYVV has a strong point here. Kinda silly to deflect it by huffing that "NYVV believes it should be left up to NYVV."

That doesn't mean we should rush to buy lots of flawed scanners instead. Good people can disagree about what it means.

Are you implying that NYVV isn't "an election integrity organization" because it supports voter verification? That would be an interesting move.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Wrong.
:D

What do you mean by "lever voting isn't voter-verifiable"?

You look at the levers you flipped. :shrug:

And you think that by using a paper ballot you do know that your vote counted? Pardon while I :rofl:

That was very Berry of you to say. Optical Scan gives the illusion of voter verifiability. It's among the weak points in their argument, actually.

But I agree that it's "silly to deflect it by huffing that "NYVV believes it should be left up to NYVV."" In fact, it is a stubborn Bo Lipari who believes it should be left up to Bo Lipari. If you don't know that it's so, you don't know pick up my marbles (while huffing) and go home Bo".

In fact, NYVV isn't an election integrity organization. NYVV is an election integrity organization that is writing itself off as it continues to fight yesterday's battles. Their future promises utter irrelevancy, with perhaps a foot-note.

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. huh?
By that standard, paperless DRES are voter-verifiable, too.

"And you think that by using a paper ballot you do know that your vote counted?"

Remarkable. Wilms, you know exactly what I think about that. Looks to me like you're going out of your way to get it wrong. Did Bo Lipari once torture a puppy in front of you, or what?
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I'll put a lever up against a DRE, any day, in a transparency competition.
And no, I'm not aware of Lipari torturing puppies. Him torturing the truth is another story.

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. is that the choice?
Is New York even considering DREs? Yeah, I guess levers beat DREs in a transparency competition, but if someone has wedged a pencil lead in one of the gears, I don't see how I will ever know.

It's pretty disconcerting to verge on siding with kster in an ER debate. It's also pretty disconcerting to see people trumpeting how transparent levers are. An astonishing achievement of American technological genius, fine, but the epitome of transparency? Meh. It's especially weird when some of the same people who trumpet the exit poll evidence (not you, of course) call to keep the levers, since in 2004 New York had one of the biggest exit poll discrepancies in the country.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. The difference is...
Edited on Sun Feb-22-09 09:17 PM by Bill Bored
...if the lever machine is tested, the "pencil lead" problem, and just about any other problem, will reveal itself in the process. If a piece of software is tested, it may never reveal problems that could manifest themselves during the subsequent election, or in a previous one.

This leaves the post-election audit as the only way to verify an election (chain of custody issues notwithstanding).

That said, NYVV has never been very strong on election verification, IMO. It's mostly been concerned with the usability of paper ballots vs. DREs, which is the "voter verification" argument. And I think it's a pretty weak one given how easy it is for most people to use a lever machine. (Others in NY are of course free to use electronic ballot markers to mark paper ballots and NYVV deserves a lot of credit for helping to make that happen.)

On edit: with respect to the exit poll true believers, they have their own crosses to bear, but I'm sure it wouldn't take much imagination for them to come up with a theory that the exit polls in NY were deliberately skewed to make the levers look bad in an effort to replace the last transparent voting system in the US with HAVA junk. In fact, all they'd have to do is read this post! ;-)
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demodonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Pencil lead will wear away as gears rub against it over the course of election day...

...Eventually the lead disintegrates completely under the action of the gears, allowing enough votes through to make the results plausible and leaving no trace of the hack (I think the tell tale graphite on the gears can be explained away as lubricant.}

This I was told by an AVM lever machine technician.

Nonetheless, I like levers (like them VERY much as opposed to DRE) but from day one as a pollworker I always worried about what would happen if one of the odometers in back would ever stick.

I also tried to lift "Brownie" (one of our two lever machines in my precinct) over the edge of a carpet once (not realizing they were over 700 lbs) and my chiropractor had extra income for months dealing with my sore back, lol.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Well, that's why the machine should be tested before each election and LOCKED.
Physical locks and security are useless with software because the code can be modified ahead of time to do something bad during the election, or when a certain combination of votes are cast on a single ballot during the election. Anything is possible! Most of this is impossible with lever machines.
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demodonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. The old-time reasoning was that the person doing the locking was the person inserting the lead.

So the same guy hacked 'em, locked 'em, and when they came back after the election, same guy unlocked 'em. Surprise, surprise..... no pencil leads (or toothpicks, which could also be used), no problems found.

"Nope Boss, nothing to see here, everything's FINE with these machines!"

All the above said, I agree that levers are MUCH harder to hack than what we have now. You are for sure preaching to the choir telling me that.... :hi:
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. One problem with this scenario in NY:
Bi-partisan election administration at every level. No one is left alone with a machine or with the KEYS. If that system can't be trusted with lever machines, fawgettabout trusting it with computers or even paper.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-22-09 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. You brought up DREs. I didn't.
And while it's obvious that levers whoop DREs in transparency, I did not call levers the "epitome of transparency".

Next?

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 05:44 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. but so far you haven't addressed my central point
Edited on Mon Feb-23-09 05:47 AM by OnTheOtherHand
which is: levers aren't voter-verifiable. They may "whoop DREs in transparency," but as a voter, I have no more evidence that a lever machine counted my vote than that a DRE did. And there is no record (voter-verifiable or otherwise) of my individual vote, so if the machine didn't count it, there is no way I will ever get my vote back -- which is, if anything, worse than many DREs (but, as a practical matter, probably indistinguishable.)

If levers had been proven foolproof, this would be an academic point. No such luck.

I understand why people want to keep the levers. I don't understand why people are calling them "transparent." If the arguments for keeping levers are going to be that bad, eventually I'll end up on the other side.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. I did address your point.
Edited on Mon Feb-23-09 09:27 AM by Wilms
I wrote, "You look at the levers you flipped". I meant it. That there is no lasting record of your "individual" vote after that point is beside the point in a system as robust as the levers. In a secret ballot system, that's ok. In fact, the illusion of said record gets even more obvious when you consider verification of individual ballots from Marking Devices. (I know. I know. We're all so special. We want a record of our personnel little vote because since the 1970's I'm soooo special as an individual, and an ATM gives me a receipt.)

If the machines in FL2000 or in OH2004 "didn't count it, there is no way I will ever get my vote back", either. Take your veri-fiable vote and shove it where it came from and goes to...which is nowhere.

And since DREs and Optical Scams have been proven foolish, your point is academic. Are you arguing for HCPB??? Why not, Mr. Transparency Argument??? :shrug:

You don't understand why people call levers "transparent" because you refuse too. Have you examined a lever machine? Have you stuck your head inside a microprocessor? Would you consider pulling it out of the sand?



You're making an argument because you think you can. I'll get you your very own special individual personal gold star for debate class.

Now, please take your seat.

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. it's my vote, not yours
It's nice that you're convinced that my vote is safer in the lever machine than on a ballot, but you sure aren't convincing me. And, yes, I get more skeptical with every screwball ad hominem. I'll have to look for evidence somewhere else.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Wilms' point about the "Me Generation" is intertesting.
Edited on Mon Feb-23-09 02:34 PM by Bill Bored
While he may be somewhat abrasive in the way he expresses it, the debate for many seems to be about the recording of "my vote" rather than the assurance that the collective will of the People is reflected in the electoral outcome. This is dangerous.

The reasons that levers are transparent should be, well, transparent and quite obvious. You can see how the votes will be counted before the election by testing the machines, reading the patents (which show in painstaking detail EXACTLY how they work) and by observing the mechanism first hand. Software can't begin to approach this, esp. when it involves operating systems, other COTS stuff, and the voting system software which is COMPILED code that makes source code review a relatively futile, but time-consuming and expansive exercise.

BTW, no one I know of is claiming that lever machines are PERFECT, or that any other voting system is either.

If being able to see how the votes will be counted isn't good enough because there is no post-vote-casting record of an individual vote, then it is incumbent on those who insist on such records to show how THEY will be counted. And so far, no one has been able to do that.

In fact, with the exception of some (but not all) elections that are too close to call -- even with 100% post-election hand counts -- such records, called "ballots", are almost never counted after the election. And when they are counted, they are NOT counted in quantities sufficient to reveal discrepancies that could change the electoral outcome. Not to mention the chain of custody problem.

Given NY's piss poor audit and recount laws, and lack of experience handling vast numbers of paper ballots, which went out with the horse and buggy, it's not a good idea to replace lever machines with computers. Not that there's ANYTHING wrong with paper ballots of course. But I strongly doubt that NYers will be willing to handle them properly after 100 years of depending on simple mechanical counting devices that have obviated the need to do so in large numbers. They will simply trust the computers, and that's not an acceptable replacement for lever machines.

I think it's fair to say that NYVV's attitude about this is typical of many uninformed folks in the movement. I.e., if we have a voter-marked paper ballot, everything will be fine because it provides "voter verification."

But election verification i.e., determining the will of the People, is a whole 'nother ballgame.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #21
30. I just don't think this is correct
I agree that the point about "my" vote counting is salient: it isn't obvious that it inherently matters whether individual votes can be audited or not.

Here's my problem:
Unfortunately, the mechanism of a lever voting machine maintains no independent record of each voter's ballot. Instead, the only record of a vote is the count maintained on the mechanical register behind each voting lever, where each register has a mechanism comparable to the odometer in a car. Not only is this vulnerable to tampering by the technicians who maintain the machine, but it means that the machine has an immense number of moving parts that are subject to wear and very difficult to completely test.

Roy G. Saltman has noted that the number 99 shows up in the vote totals on lever machines significantly more frequently than would be expected if vote totals were randomly distributed -- that is, the number of 99's is noticably different from the number of 98's or 100's. The probable explanation is that it takes more force to turn the vote counting wheels in a lever machine from 99 to 100, and therefore, if the counter is going to jam, it is more likely to jam at 99. The fact that this is a frequent occurance (sic) in vote totals reported from lever machines is empirical evidence that the lever machines that have been used in real elections are, in fact, inadequately maintained and that this results in the loss of a significant number of votes. Exhaustive pre-election testing would be expected to detect these jams, but exhaustive testing of a mechanism as complex as a lever voting machine is very time consuming, and performing such tests on every voting machine prior to every election would be prohibitively expensive.

http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting/pictures/#lever

Lever machines do fail in elections, and some probably fail without it being noticed. Also, as demodonkey pointed out, there's reason to believe that individual machines can be tampered with practically undetectably.

I think it's at least perfectly plausible to say that lever machines are the best we've got. But Andi Novick seems to be in deep denial, and I'm not interested in going there with her.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. This isn't about Novick...or Jones.
You've just realized that levers aren't the "epitome" of something I didn't say they were?

Are you saying that pre-election testing and maintenance are important? I agree.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #30
34. I'll tell you who's really in deep denial:
Edited on Thu Feb-26-09 03:09 AM by Bill Bored
those who continue to advocate for paper ballots, counted by computers, with NO idea how to go about verifying the election outcomes.

This has been going on for years, and you know it. I realize it's the best they can do in 49 other states, but NY should not be made to pay the price for butterfly ballots and sub-standard punch cards in Florida 2000, whether they were deliberately introduced into that voting system or not. (Coincidentally, Sequoia did dump their AVM lever holdings shortly after the FL 2000 meltdown, but way before HAVA and the deliberate misreading of HAVA that would "ban" the levers. Interesting when you consider that levers had nothing to do with FL 2000. So what did Sequoia know and when did they know it?)

If levers fail so often, how do you explain NY's undervote rate, which is comparable to that of other states running software -- (except for the fact that a software-based undervote rate can't be verified)? When lever machines lose votes, you get undervotes. So where are they? Moved over the border to Syria?

I believe there may be other ways to prove that this isn't happening, such as counting discrepancies between the public and protective counters, which are the MOST frequently used ones in the machine (every time a ballot is cast). But no one is seriously interested in considering this because it doesn't fit their paradigm of counting paper with computers.

And frankly, I wish Doug Jones would 86 that 99 story unless he or Saltman can give a bit more detail than "noticeably different from the number of 98's or 100's." And the levers are NOT that hard to test. Software is hard to test!

As far as transparency, if levers are not, scanners and DREs are CERTAINLY NOT.

As far as tampering, it's the procedures that prevent it. But I doubt there are any that can do so very effectively where software is concerned. At least none that are well-understood by non-IT-security geeks, and they aren't the folks running most of our elections, are they?

Suffice it to say that election officials and most attorneys who are trying to run this stuff are pretty damn clueless about how any of it works, despite all the grant money that's supposed to be going to educate them! After all that, I still only trust them to know how to run a lever election. That's about it.

But you've already agreed that "it's at least perfectly plausible to say that lever machines are the best we've got."
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #30
35. Can I quote you?!?
I think it's at least perfectly plausible to say that lever machines are the best we've got.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-27-09 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Wilms, WTF?
I've never said otherwise. So are you just yanking my chain, or what?
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-27-09 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. I'm just appreciating it.
It's well-formed...as well as near and dear to my heart. :loveya:

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-02-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #36
51. Now boys, boys...please let's try to keep the discussion CIVIL!
Does this mean he can quote you not?

Actually saying something is not the same as never saying otherwise.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. How's those ballot security bills going in the NYS Legislature?
Ooops. There are none.

That you say you get "more skeptical with every screwball ad hominem" indicates your argument is with me, not the matter at hand.

Sorry to hear that.

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #26
29. no, I'm totally frustrated about the matter at hand
To hear that lever machines are voter-verifiable and transparent is bizarre to me -- and nothing about this Hobson's choice is very pleasant. I don't understand why anyone is happy about either side.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #29
32. It's bizarre to you.
What's bizarre to me is the assumption many have that a paper ballot is anything more than a piece of paper that a computer or a chain of custody failure, or an election law, could render meaningless.

You mark a ballot and stare at it. Then it goes into a computer. So?

Compare to a lever where it IS possible for a mere mortal to be involved with pre-election testing and OBSERVE the machines workings.

How can you compare that with a computer?

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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #13
23. Levers are NOT transparent, their plus is the limited risk compared to risk with computerized voting
and if there was a decent Optical Scanner with open source code (to keep costs down
and provide transparency), then switching might be more appealing.

To me the choices being posed to New York - Sequoia Imagecast - is a bad choice.

I don't know if I like the ES&S DS 200 either.

NY could sit back and wait until there is a better optical scanner, IMHO.

No sense in buying trouble.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 03:14 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. Avi Rubin on software vs. lever machines:
http://avi-rubin.blogspot.com/2007/08/secretary-bowens-...

The current certification process may have been appropriate when a 900 lb lever voting machine was deployed. The machine could be tested every which way, and if it met the criteria, it could be certified because it was not likely to change. But software is different. The software lifecycle is dynamic. As an example, look at the way Apple distributes releases of the iPhone software. The first release was 1.0.0. Two minor version numbers. When the first serious flaw was discovered, they issued a patch and called it version 1.0.1. Apple knew that there would be many minor and some major releases because that is the nature of software. It's how the entire software industry operates.

So, you cannot certify an electronic voting machine the way you certify a lever machine. Once the voting machine goes through a lengthy and expensive certification process, any change to the software requires that it be certified all over again. What if a vulnerability is discovered a week before an election? What about a month before the election, or a week after it passes certification? Now the point is that we absolutely expect that vulnerabilities will be discovered all the time. That would be the case even if the vendors had a clue about security. Microsoft, which arguably has some of the best security specialists, processes and development techniques issues security patches all the time.

Software is designed to be upgraded, and patch management systems are the norm. A certification system that requires freezing a version in stone is doomed to failure because of the inherent nature of software. Since we cannot change the nature of software, the certification process for voting machines needs to be radically revamped. The dependence on software needs to be eliminated.


Well, we don't depend on it in New York now, so our job is a lot easier -- if everyone would just leave us alone!
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-23-09 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. Levers are NOT transparent, their plus is the limited risk compared to risk with computerized voting
and if there was a decent Optical Scanner with open source code (to keep costs down
and provide transparency), then switching might be more appealing.

To me the choices being posed to New York - Sequoia Imagecast - is a bad choice.

I don't know if I like the ES&S DS 200 either.

NY could sit back and wait until there is a better optical scanner, IMHO.

No sense in buying trouble.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #24
27. See Post #21. Transparency is in the eye of the beholder, but with software,
Edited on Tue Feb-24-09 03:08 AM by Bill Bored
there's not much to behold.
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Cookie wookie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 07:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
52. self delete
Edited on Fri Mar-06-09 07:16 AM by Cookie wookie
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Stevepol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-21-09 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R!
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payin attention Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 12:48 AM
Response to Original message
33. NYVV's interpretation re permanent paper records is reasonable
Here's why: HAVA is sloppy with respect to the term "voting system," and elements 301(a) seems to violate the expansive definition that is provided in 301(b) and cited by VotersUnite.

As VotersUnite correctly notes, HAVA provides in section 301(b) a definition of "voting system" that includes not only equipment, but also practices and documentation. That would seem to mean that if a "voting system" utilized only lever machines for the recording of votes, that voting system would be able to meet the requirement for a permanent paper record with the manually-copied tally sheet.

Except that...HAVA does not use the term "voting system" in a consistent way

Just look at the infamous section 301(a)(3)(A) and (B), which states:

(3) Accessibility for individuals with disabilities.--The
voting system shall--
(A) be accessible for individuals with disabilities,
including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and
visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same
opportunity for access and participation (including
privacy and independence) as for other voters;
(B) satisfy the requirement of subparagraph (A)
through the use of at least one direct recording
electronic voting system or other voting system equipped
for individuals with disabilities at each polling place;
and


In this language, HAVA creates two definitions of "voting system," one explicit, and one required by context. On one hand, the opening language of 301(a)(3) says, "The voting system shall..." in the of the expansive 301(b) sense of the term. But then 301(a)(3)(B) seems to envision "voting system" as a specific item of voting equipment; i.e., each polling place must have "at least one direct-recording electronic voting system or other voting system."

If you are not used to reading legislation, just re-read the above HAVA language carefully, and you can see that it says "The voting system shall satisfy the requirements of subparagraph (A) through the use of at least one direct recording electronic voting system or other voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities at each polling place.."

Or more simply, "The voting system shall use at least one direct-recording electronic voting system."

Huh? How can one direct recording electronic "voting system" in each polling place mean the 301(b) sense of "voting system?" For example, the 301(b) definition includes any component of the voting system used to "define ballots." But for a DRE used in a polling place, the ballot has been defined by the election management system. I think the bottom line is that the drafters of HAVA screwed up, and we don't know what the heck "voting system" means in the context of the paper-record requirement in 301(a)(2). It could mean individual devices or the whole shebang of equipment, documentation, and practices.

So when NYVV says that 301(a)(2)(B)'s requirement for a permanent paper record means that levers are out, they are being reasonable. Here's a link to HAVA. The entirely of section 301 is pasted below the link.

http://www.fec.gov/hava/law_ext.txt

SEC. 301. <<NOTE: 42 USC 15481.>> VOTING SYSTEMS STANDARDS.

(a) Requirements.--Each voting system used in an election for
Federal office shall meet the following requirements:
(1) In general.--
(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the
voting system (including any lever voting system,
optical scanning voting system, or direct recording
electronic system) shall--
(i) permit the voter to verify (in a private
and independent manner) the votes selected by the
voter on the ballot before the ballot is cast and
counted;
(ii) provide the voter with the opportunity
(in a private and independent manner) to change
the ballot or correct any error before the ballot
is cast and counted (including the opportunity to
correct the error through the issuance of a
replacement ballot if the voter was otherwise
unable to change the ballot or correct any error);
and
(iii) if the voter selects votes for more than
one candidate for a single office--
(I) notify the voter that the voter
has selected more than one candidate for
a single office on the ballot;
(II) notify the voter before the
ballot is cast and counted of the effect
of casting multiple votes for the
office; and
(III) provide the voter with the
opportunity to correct the ballot before
the ballot is cast and counted.
(B) A State or jurisdiction that uses a paper ballot
voting system, a punch card voting system, or a central
count voting system (including mail-in absentee ballots
and mail-in ballots), may meet the requirements of
subparagraph (A)(iii) by--

<[Page 116 STAT. 1705>]

(i) establishing a voter education program
specific to that voting system that notifies each
voter of the effect of casting multiple votes for
an office; and
(ii) providing the voter with instructions on
how to correct the ballot before it is cast and
counted (including instructions on how to correct
the error through the issuance of a replacement
ballot if the voter was otherwise unable to change
the ballot or correct any error).
(C) The voting system shall ensure that any
notification required under this paragraph preserves the
privacy of the voter and the confidentiality of the
ballot.
(2) Audit capacity.--
(A) In general.--The voting system shall produce a
record with an audit capacity for such system.
(B) Manual audit capacity.--
(i) The voting system shall produce a
permanent paper record with a manual audit
capacity for such system.
(ii) The voting system shall provide the voter
with an opportunity to change the ballot or
correct any error before the permanent paper
record is produced.
(iii) The paper record produced under
subparagraph (A) shall be available as an official
record for any recount conducted with respect to
any election in which the system is used.
3) Accessibility for individuals with disabilities.--The
voting system shall--
(A) be accessible for individuals with disabilities,
including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and
visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same
opportunity for access and participation (including
privacy and independence) as for other voters;
(B) satisfy the requirement of subparagraph (A)
through the use of at least one direct recording
electronic voting system or other voting system equipped
for individuals with disabilities at each polling place;
and
(C) if purchased with funds made available under
title II on or after January 1, 2007, meet the voting
system standards for disability access (as outlined in
this paragraph).


(4) Alternative language accessibility.--The voting system
shall provide alternative language accessibility pursuant to the
requirements of section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42
U.S.C. 1973aa-1a).
(5) Error rates.--The error rate of the voting system in
counting ballots (determined by taking into account only those
errors which are attributable to the voting system and not
attributable to an act of the voter) shall comply with the error
rate standards established under section 3.2.1 of the voting
systems standards issued by the Federal Election Commission
which are in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(6) Uniform definition of what constitutes a vote.--Each
State shall adopt uniform and nondiscriminatory standards that
define what constitutes a vote and what will be

<[Page 116 STAT. 1706>]

counted as a vote for each category of voting system used in the
State.

(b) Voting System Defined.--In this section, the term ``voting
system'' means--
(1) the total combination of mechanical, electromechanical,
or electronic equipment (including the software, firmware, and
documentation required to program, control, and support the
equipment) that is used--
(A) to define ballots;
(B) to cast and count votes;
(C) to report or display election results; and
(D) to maintain and produce any audit trail
information; and
(2) the practices and associated documentation used--
(A) to identify system components and versions of
such components;
(B) to test the system during its development and
maintenance;
(C) to maintain records of system errors and
defects;
(D) to determine specific system changes to be made
to a system after the initial qualification of the
system; and
(E) to make available any materials to the voter
(such as notices, instructions, forms, or paper
ballots).

(c) Construction.--
(1) In general.--Nothing in this section shall be construed
to prohibit a State or jurisdiction which used a particular type
of voting system in the elections for Federal office held in
November 2000 from using the same type of system after the
effective date of this section, so long as the system meets or
is modified to meet the requirements of this section.
(2) Protection of paper ballot voting systems.--For purposes
of subsection (a)(1)(A)(i), the term ``verify'' may not be
defined in a manner that makes it impossible for a paper ballot
voting system to meet the requirements of such subsection or to
be modified to meet such requirements.

(d) Effective Date.--Each State and jurisdiction shall be required
to comply with the requirements of this section on and after January 1,
2006.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #33
38. well...
This passage has been interpreted in various ways. The EAC advisory 2005-005 likewise holds that the language requires the lever machines themselves to produce a paper record. The advisory even argues, if I read it correctly, that HAVA requires a paper record of each vote -- although, as far as I know, EAC never applied this criterion to DREs, and 2005-004 seems silent on this issue.

I think you're right about this:
...we don't know what the heck "voting system" means in the context of the paper-record requirement in 301(a)(2).

The reason I can't just say that NYVV is right about this is that their analysis claims that two sections of HAVA "are clear and unambiguous about the requirement to replace mechanical lever machines." Subjectively that may be true, but your "we don't know what the heck" rings a lot truer to me.

Very generally, NYVV's policy of preparing for the end of levers, and the desire of many activists to keep the levers, both seem reasonable to me. Not all the specific statements and behaviors seem so reasonable.
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payin attention Donating Member (6 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-09 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. GIven the EAC Advisory, NYVV is reasonable
to say that 301(a)(2) is clear and unambiguous about the paper-record requirement.

Btw, here's a link to the 2005-05 Advisory you mention; the EAC seemed to think that the 301(a)(2) requirement for a paper record was clear and unambigous.

http://www.eac.gov/election/docs/eac-20advisorylevermac...

About the DREs, I don't think the EAC needed to clarify, because DREs can produce a permanent paper recordn for manual audit purposes - it just doesn't have to be voter-verified. Appalling, but true.
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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #39
40. the ground is getting a bit boggy
I don't think that 2005-005 establishes that 301(a)(2) is clear and unambiguous. Whether it's reasonable to say so is a closer call. I think NYVV would be on more solid ground to say that so far the language has been interpreted as clear and unambiguous by the most authoritative arbiters, the EAC and Judge Sharpe. (The first time I got to wrangle over this issue, last July, it was because Bo Lipari had said pretty much that -- and some folks weirdly argued that he had made Sharpe sound like SCOTUS and I'm not sure what-all else.) But what John and Ellen have to say seems reasonable, too.

(On the second point, I read the language the same way they do: I don't see why, in principle, the state can't simply repay the money.)

As for the DRE paper trail, I agree that DREs can produce a permanent paper record, and that HAVA doesn't require it to be voter-verified (despite the opinion of Darryl Wold to the contrary). The advisory actually raises a third issue: whether the paper record (whether or not voter-verified) needs to document each individual vote. It may be the case -- I'm far from an expert on DRE administration -- that present-generation DREs all are capable of doing that, but that in practice in non-VVPAT jurisdictions, it isn't done. My impression is that it's routine to print summary tapes which, by the reasoning of the advisory, aren't HAVA-compliant as "a limited paper record (documenting only vote totals)." But then, it seems that the HAVA requirement applies to systems, not to procedures, so all that matters is that the machines could produce records of individual votes. Does that seem about right?

I may be overreading between the lines, but apparently you and I both think there is more than one reasonable way to read this poorly drafted language. A lot of the ire generated over it (I'm not referring to John and Ellen's calm analysis) doesn't seem to me to have much to do with HAVA, or with the objective characteristics of lever machines and ImageCasts.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. Professor Blur, do you still defend Lipari being disingenuous and misleading?
Edited on Sun Mar-01-09 10:21 AM by Wilms
You wrote "some folks weirdly argued that he had made Sharpe sound like SCOTUS".

Weirdly? I find it weird that you'd continually defend Lipari twice using the phrase "highest court in the land" when describing a United States District Court.

Some of us are willing to move forward, but since you brought it up, let's make sure all are familiar with Bo Lipari's Deceit on Voice of the Voters.

Can you show me an example of the phrase "highest court in the land" being legitimately used to describe a US court other than SCOTUS? Just one?

Just as does Lipari, it "looks to me like you're going out of your way to get it wrong." "Remarkable"!

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. dude, you are flatly misquoting him
I think your position is untenable, but I'm quite convinced that your repeated misrepresentation is. We're just miles apart on this.

Was that blurless enough for you?
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. I have not misquoted him.
His misleading utterances are a matter of record. http://www.voiceofthevotersarchive.org/VV070208.mp3

Just minutes in, one can hear Lipari twice used the phrase "highest court in the land" in making his argument. Your own argument acknowledges (and weirdly defends) as much. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

That you are forgiving of his misleading statement is your prerogative. An exit poll whacko making as near a specious comment as Bo's would have found you descending on it like a crow on road-kill.

Again I ask if you have any link containing the phrase "highest court in the land" legitimately referring to a US Court other than SCOTUS.

I won't hold my breath.

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #43
46. look, you can't win this
The way I see it, if you thought that quoting him accurately wouldn't blow up your case, you would do that. But hey, maybe it's just an uncanny coincidence.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. Hey. I already "won".
I posted the the evidence for anyone able to play an mp3.

I know you disagree. That's your problem, Bo's, and Wanda's. Did I miss anyone else who would stand behind that disingenuous statement by the former head of NYVV?

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #47
48. I welcome anyone to listen to the MP3
How many people are gonna buy your line that Lipari explained that a case had gone to the US District Court, Northern District of New York, Judge Gary Sharpe presiding, and then name Sharpe again, so that he could pretend that Sharpe was the U.S. Supreme Court?

I can't fathom that you believe that yourself -- especially since you still aren't willing to quote the entire sentence, much less the context. But by all means, people should listen for themselves.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Forget my "line". It's Lipari's at issue.
And more and more people are hip to it.

He didn't fool me, or others, for a second. But I was not alone in finding that statement misleading. I have posted links to his full sentence, and the audio. Anyone who doesn't know can check it out.

Lipari also claimed the judge had ruled on HAVA. That's not correct. But we all should be used to it. Voters Unite felt it necessary to write the article I posted in the OP because of NYVV's inaccurate and incomplete reporting. Kind of sad that they had to bust an election integrity group.

And, of course, there's the "ship has sailed" line he and Wanda peddled relative to NY abandoning levers. Now we have three NY counties lawmakers already passing unanimous, or near-unanimous, resolutions to KEEP THE LEVERS. More may well be on the way.

Meanwhile, NYVV has sent Lipari underground.

I find these developments hopeful, and impressive. My hat is off to NYVV for it's position on DREs. Beyond that...

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #39
45. That advisory is NOT reasonable!
Edited on Sun Mar-01-09 05:39 PM by Bill Bored
What it says in effect is that an unverfiable paper record of each vote printed from computer memory sometime AFTER an election is acceptable to audit or recount that election, while an election-night paper record of a mechanical counter tally, produced ON ELECTION DAY by a voter manually pulling a lever (the only possible function of which is to increment that particular counter by one vote), is somehow unacceptable or "unauditable."

This is utter vendor-driven NONSENSE and it was done in order to justify the replacement of lever machines with paperless DREs. It's the most disingenuous, convoluted interpretation of a statute that could possibly have been made, and to use it as a reason to use it to justify replacing lever machines with opaque computerized vote-counting systems, without even so much as a statistical audit to back them up, as NYVV has done, is doing a great disservice to the voters of NY, as well as the voters in other states who are forced to vote on paperless touchscreens.

And it will not stand.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-01-09 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #33
44. You are wrong. Here's why:
Edited on Sun Mar-01-09 05:40 PM by Bill Bored
The use of "voting system" within HAVA is entirely consistent.

The Accessibility subsection says the voting system must meet the accessibility standard by having one accessible device per polling place -- not even per precinct. There is NOTHING inconsistent with this and the definition of "voting system."

Nothing in HAVA rules out the voting system currently used in NY which comprises:
1. Lever machines
2. Accessible ballot marking devices
3. Permanent paper records produced by that voting system
4. Procedures to produce those records

It couldn't be more straightforward.



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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-02-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #33
50. Oh, and BTW, you're wrong about this too:
Edited on Mon Mar-02-09 02:06 PM by Bill Bored
You say that this is ambiguous:

"at least one direct recording electronic voting system or other voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities at each polling place."

...because: "How can one direct recording electronic 'voting system' in each polling place mean the 301(b) sense of 'voting system?' For example, the 301(b) definition includes any component of the voting system used to 'define ballots.' But for a DRE used in a polling place, the ballot has been defined by the election management system."

The answer to your question is very simple: :think:
There is no law that precludes the use of a stand-alone "voting system" with a LOCAL election management system in each polling place, is there? If so, then cite it! You can't because it doesn't exist -- but then maybe you're just not used to reading legislation! ;-)

Also, you very conveniently ignore the rest the sentence which says "...or other voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities at each polling place."

That part means you can have an accessible ballot marker instead of a DRE, or a voting system with a central EMS, or a voting system that uses a VotePAD for accessibility, or a voting system that uses a telephone-based audio system, or a LEVER voting system modified to meet the accessibility requirements!


"I think the bottom line is that the drafters of HAVA screwed up, and we don't know what the heck 'voting system' means in the context of the paper-record requirement in 301(a)(2). It could mean individual devices or the whole shebang of equipment, documentation, and practices."

No, it means the whole voting "system" -- as defined in the statute! But nothing in the statute says an entire voting system can't be contained in a polling place if someone builds it that way. In fact, some in NY even claim that we will have "stand-alone" voting machines or systems. Unfortunately, this is ]BUNK because there will be EMSs used to define ballots and elections for multiple devices (hundreds or thousands at a time!) and that, by definition, means the voting devices are NOT "stand alone."

And that, my friend, is why e-vote counting is so frickin' dangerous -- and many in NY are still clueless about that, esp. some of the election lawyers and legislators who are trying to regulate the use of a technology they know absolutely nothing about! Get it?

But as to your HAVA interpretation, you are stretching this even further than the discredited EAC has. I'd be interested in knowing WHY. What's your agenda? Who do you work for? What's your SOLUTION to the Election Verification PROBLEM? (You do realize it's a PROBLEM, don't you?)
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-20-09 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
53. kick! nt
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