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Reply #57: Sorry, no ban on touch screens. Read the paper! [View All]

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-29-06 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
57. Sorry, no ban on touch screens. Read the paper!
Edited on Wed Nov-29-06 10:16 PM by Bill Bored
OK, I don't expect everyone on DU to be a techie nerd, but those of us who follow this stuff "for a living" know exactly what it means, and it's NOT a ban on DREs or touch screens and probably had nothing to do with the excellent letter by VotersUnite.

Here are some facts you may wish to consider:

From the definitions on the first page of the NIST report:

< >

"- DRE Direct Record Electronic, used in this paper to refer to current blackbox DREs that provide no transparency to its software, e.g., open source, etc."

Note: this is NOT the same as "DRE-VVPAT."

From page 6:

"There are several types of software-independent systems, however those that are readily
available today are paper-based. These are as follows:
1. Op scan using manually marked paper ballots
2. Op scan using an EBM, which can produce a richer user interface including support
for accessibility and alternative languages

From page 13:
"NIST and the TGDC must continue to work on usability and accessibility requirements for systems
such as op scan and DRE-VVPAT. There is good reason to believe that much more can be
done to make these systems more usable and convenient for voters and for election officials"

Note: Does this read like a ban on touch screens?

From, page 15:

"2. Focus attention towards improving the usability and accessibility of paperbased
SI voting systems: HFP and STS should continue to work together to
incorporate requirements to make op scan, EBM, and DRE-VVPAT more usable,
accessible, and convenient to audit. If this work requires more time than allocated
for VVSG 2007 development, some method for continuing this work should be


  • No ban on touch screens.
  • Possible ban on DREs without VVPATs.
  • Ban will NOT take effect until 2009 when the 2007 standards will go into effect.
  • No paperless independent verification systems in the 2007 standards, but this may still be an area for future development.

See what happens at the Dec. TGDC meeting where this will be discussed. Meanwhile, it's a modest improvement because it acknowledges the need for independent verification using paper. But it does NOT ban touch screens nor does it require paper ballots in lieu of VVPATs.

Where the report is disappointing is that it considers DREs with VVPATs to be software-independent because the VVPATs can be audited independently. What it does NOT seem to point out is that the software is still required to produce the VVPATs. This is one of the points that VotersUnite and others who oppose DREs have correctly tried to make.

Now try not to shoot the messenger.
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