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NOTICE: WHY "Ballot Marking Devices" Make Our Work SO HARD [View All]

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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-21-07 11:23 AM
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NOTICE: WHY "Ballot Marking Devices" Make Our Work SO HARD
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Edited on Wed Mar-21-07 11:37 AM by Land Shark
WHY "Ballot Marking Devices" Make Our Work SO HARD

A brief comment on the confusion that is and will be created by the semantic and substantive debate about touch screens VS. DREs. (that's right, there is a technical distinction)

Brad Friedman, in the course of a longer piece pointing out how damaging and destructive and misinformed People For the American Way has been on voting issues, stated as follows in response to what he called inaccurate information that he favored a "ban on touchscreens" when he ONLY favors a ban on DREs. See (original source of my quote below)

TO CLARIFY (and please read this carefully!): A DRE, by its definition, directly records the voters selections internally, inside the computer, onto computer memory, without allowing the voter to verify it. A DRE often uses a touch-screen interface. However, some touch-screen systems like the AutoMARK --- which are perfectly acceptable for disabilities voters who wish to use them --- are merely ballot marking devices or electronic ballot printer/markers with a touch-screen interface. They do not tabulate the vote or create an unverifiable record of the vote as DREs do. They simply assist a disabled voter and print out a ballot with their selections to be verified by the voter, and then counted by another means, such as op-scan or hand count.

This technical distinction is raised to the Fore by the support for Ballot Marking Devices, either new ones or converted and retrofitted touchscreens transformed thereby into expensive ballot printers.

Here's the problem: We have already seen Holt's office trash our educational investment in "ballots, not paper trails" by co-opting and confusing the term in the HR 811 bill to identify paper TRAILS which are never counted on the first count or released on Election night, they are only the subject of a possible audit. This is quite costly when you count up the time and setback it creates. Now, another educational setback appears with Ballot Marking Devices, namely that the public has been educated at GREAT EXPENSE in time and money that "touch screens" are bad, and now we must re-educate everyone that NO, it's only DREs that are bad, not touch screens (see Brad's comment above). Our ability to effectively go after the typical DRE in actual use today, like a Diebold Accuvote TSX or Sequoia AVC Edge, now depends upon teaching the American public a technical acronym term DRE and its distinction from just a "touch screen."

RESULT: Voters go into a polling location and see a touch screen and are confused as to whether it is Bad or Good. Both will likely have a printer of some sort whether paper trail or paper ballot since state laws often require this already, so knowing whether something is a touch screen or DRE rests on more technical distinctions of whether the ballot is electronic or printed out on paper.

This is real bad for clarity, makes it harder to educate people, and nukes our investment in the word "touch screens."

In the same article, Brad points out that people don't seem to check, according to a study, their paper trail very closely, probably because they figure they've been careful on the touch screen -- they consider THAT to be the area to be careful about their ballot....

I dunno, the differences would be slight with Ballot Marking Devices vs. true DREs. It seems to me that Brad, in recognizing that paper trails are much akin (in my rough metaphor) to grocery receipts that most don't check, has at least undermined, and perhaps destroyed, the argument for Ballot Marking Devices at the same time. People may check the paper there in somewhat increased numbers, But even if that increase went from the study I saw, where voters caught ZERO of the errors on the paper trail ALL THE WAY UP TO say 50% effectiveness in catching Ballot Marking Device errors, that still means that the other 50% of the errors or fraud slip through this system and become the GOLD STANDARD OF FRAUD, VOTER-VERIFIED FRAUD TO BE EXACT.

Whatever the percentage of people is that don't check the errors on printouts from EITHER touch screens OR DREs, that is the percentage of voter-verified fraud, a special species of fraud that is IMPOSSIBLE to complain about, because the voter APPROVED IT!! With voters in one study catching zero errors on the paper trail, it's not looking good on the percentage of errors that voters will catch using Ballot Marking Devices.

Welcome to the twisted world of voter-"approved" election fraud.

The duct tape for the mouths of all election activists has been prepared, and is awaiting our approval of Ballot Marking Devices.

PS If a DISABLED voter requires this technology, AND (this is important) the law makes clear that they are in a separate class for Equal Protection purposes, then I have no objection to Ballot Marking Devices. In that case, I regret both the circumstances that created the voters disability as well as the crappy technology we are throwing at them and telling them "it's all good."

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