Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Breaking! (Well Sept 8 anyway.) EAC Requires VVPATs!

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU
 
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 02:18 AM
Original message
Breaking! (Well Sept 8 anyway.) EAC Requires VVPATs!
Edited on Sat Sep-17-05 02:32 AM by Bill Bored
OK. Someone explain this one:

The EAC says Lever Machines have to produce paper records that connect the Summary Results to original transactions (i.e., the Ballot!).

This does NOT only apply to lever machines people. It also applies to DREs! All voting systems used in federal elections in 2006 in fact. They have just mandated VVPATs!

http://www.eac.gov/docs/EAC%20Advisory%2005-005.pdf

"it is the position of the EAC that those machines that produce a limited paper record (documenting only vote totals) also do not meet the requirements."

The main issue here is that the EAC has interpreted HAVA to require paper records for recounts -- not just summary reports of vote totals!

I suggest we stay on top of this because it's HUGE! THE EAC has just reinterpreted HAVA to require the paper audit record to be linked to each ballot. I.e., it should have to be voter-verified. The only difference between this and a true VVPAT is that it doesn't say the paper record must be verified by the voter. The printout could be hidden inside the machine somewhere. But in the case of many DREs, this isn't even the case, is it? They ONLY print RESULTS!

According to this, such machines cannot be used in federal elections in 2006!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 02:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. Wow!
But they don't specifically go after the paper-less DRE's, here.

Has the stage been set??

I wonder what Carter/Baker will say.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 02:26 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Beats me.
But they can't have it both ways! They can't have paperless DREs without paplerless lever machines. The error rate stuff can probably be argued too. I don't want to get bogged down with that, but it could probably be argued that there is no 2002 error rate spec for lever machines and so they need not comply with that.

The main issue here is that the EAC has interpreted HAVA to require paper records for recounts -- not just summary reports of vote totals!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 06:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. That is the first good news in a long time - so I suspect Bush/GOP
Edited on Sat Sep-17-05 06:46 AM by papau
will find a way around it as the GOP needs fraud to "win".

Major media reports - as usual - do not seem to exist.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-18-05 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. "But they can't have it both ways"
exactly
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 06:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. EAC has no authority to tell States to do anything - and already has waved
paper trail rule for black boxes.

United States Election Assistance Commission
1225 New York Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
July 20, 2005

EAC Advisory 2005-004: How to determine if a voting system is compliant with Section 301(a) a gap analysis between 2002 Voting System Standards and the requirements of Section 301(a)
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has received a number of inquiries from several states as to whether one or more particular voting systems comply with Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). In addition, in one of its recent public meetings, EAC was asked to conduct an analysis to identify the gaps between the 2002 Voting System Standards adopted by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the requirements for voting systems under Section 301(a) of HAVA. EAC is not required by HAVA to preclear or approve voting systems purchased by states and local election jurisdictions. Furthermore, EAC does not believe that it was the intention of Congress or HAVA for EAC to assume this role. However, it is evident that states and local election jurisdictions as well as testing laboratories are in need of information that will help in determining whether a voting system meets the threshold requirements of Section 301(a). Thus, EAC offers the follwing analysis of Section 301(a) in light of the 2002 Voting System Standards.

Title III of HAVA, entitled Uniform and Nondiscriminatory Election Technology and Administration Requirements, imposes certain requirements upon states and local jurisdictions conducting federal elections. Section 301(a) sets forth the standards that voting systems must meet after January 1, 2006. Those requirements include functions and features that, among other things: (1) allow the voter to review his or her selections privately and independently prior to casting a ballot; (2) allow the voter to change his or her selections privately and independently prior to casting a ballot; (3) notify the voter when he or she has made more selections in a single race than are permitted (overvote); (4) provide for the production of a permanent paper record suitable to be used in a manual recount; (5) provide voters with disabilities, including visual disabilities, the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as for other voters; (6) provide accessibility in minority languages for voters with limited English proficiency as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and (7) provide for an error rate in operating the voting system that is no greater than the error rate set forth in Section 3.2.1 of the 2002 Voting System Standards adopted by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Although the 2002 Voting System Standards set forth measurable standards that predict compliance with some of the Section 301(a) requirements, those standards do not provide sufficient and adequate guidance as to what is required to meet the accessibility requirements of Section 301(a)(3); do not prescribe testable measures for language accessibility required by Section 301(a)(4) of HAVA; and do not prescribe standards that adequately explain the requirements for overvote notification required by Section 301(a)(1) of HAVA. As such, EAC issues the following policy statement to identify the gaps between the 2002 Voting System Standards and the requirements set forth under Section 301(a) of HAVA and to explain what is needed to meet the requirements of Section 301(a) above and beyond the testing requirements established in the 2002 Voting System Standards.

Section 301(a)(1):

The requirements of Section 301(a)(1) of HAVA are met if the voting system (1) conforms and complies with Section 2.4.3.3 of the 2002 Voting System Standards and (2) notifies the voter through a visual and/or audio message prior to casting the ballot when the voter makes more selections than are legally allowed in a single race or contest (overvote):

(a) that an overvote has occurred and
(b) the effect of overvoting.

Following that notification, the voting system must allow the voter to change his or her selection(s), if so desired. Voting systems that preclude and prohibit overvoting meet this requirement. Notwithstanding the above, certain paper ballot voting systems may meet the overvote requirements of Section 301(a)(1)(A)(iii) of HAVA by meeting the requirements set forth in Section 301(a)(1)(B).

Section 301(a)(2):

The requirements of Section 301(a)(2) of HAVA are met if the voting system conforms and complies with Sections 2.2.5.2.1 and 2.5.3.1 of the 2002 Voting System Standards.

Section 301(a)(3):

Section 301(a)(3) of HAVA requires that by January 1, 2006, at least one voting system in each polling place be accessible to persons with disabilities such that the voting system allows an individual with a disability the same access and opportunity to vote privately and independently as is afforded a non-disabled voter. Compliance with Section 301(a)(3) requires that the voting system is accessible to persons with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, including physical, visual, and cognitive disabilities, such that the disabled individual can privately and independently receive instruction, make selections, and cast a ballot. However, accessibility involves more than the technical features of the voting system. The accessible voting system also must be used in a manner that is consistent with providing access for disabled voters (e.g., the accessible voting system must be set up for use in a space that is accessible to a disabled voter who uses a wheelchair).

Conformance with Section 301(a)(3) is a complex matter, which must take into account the disability of the voter, the advancement of technology and its availability, and the efforts of the elections officials to make the voting process accessible to disabled voters in a private and independent manner. The following are some factors that must be considered in determining accessibility in conformance with Section 301(a)(3) of HAVA:

(1) Section 2.2.7 of the 2002 Voting System Standards;
(2) Section 2.4.3.1 (a) of the 2002 Voting System Standards;
(3) Section 3.4.9 (a-e) of the 2002 Voting System Standards;
(4) The voting system must afford a disabled voter the ability to perform the same functions (e.g., receiving and reading the ballot, making selections, reviewing selections, changing selections, and casting the final ballot) as are afforded to a non-disabled voter. These functions may be provided to the disabled voter through features of the voting system that are different than those used by non-disabled voters. The disabled voter need not and in many cases cannot have an identical voting experience as a non-disabled voter (e.g., a voter with a visual disability is afforded the same access to reading the ballot as a sighted voter when the ballot is read to the visually disabled voter using an audio component of the voting system).
(5) Accessibility of the voting system to the voter includes accessibility to all equipment needed to cast and count ballots. Many jurisdictions use a paper ballot voting system that requires the voter to submit his or her own ballot after casting for purposes of ballot counting. Where such voting systems are in use, such jurisdictions must to the extent reasonably and technologically possible afford a disabled voter the same ability to submit his or her own ballot, in a private and independent manner, as is afforded a non-disabled voter. In this example, visually disabled voters must be allowed to submit the ballot independently, as the disability is one that is capable of being accommodated, and technology and practice provide a means that can be used to allow the visually disabled voter to submit a ballot with the same degree of privacy and independence afforded to a sighted voter (e.g., a privacy sleeve).
(6) There may be certain disabled voters whose disabilities prevent them from voting independently (i.e., without assistance from a person of their choosing or a poll worker). While HAVA requires voting systems to allow independence and privacy, it does not preclude a disabled voter from requesting and obtaining the assistance of another person as provided in Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(7) Section 301(a)(3)(B) contemplates that an accessible voting system can include a direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system or other voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities. This advisory should not be read to preclude the innovation and use of accessible voting systems other than DREs for purposes of meeting this requirement.

A Bad Bill, With Some Good Things in It

June 14, 2005



Daniel P. Tokaji
Associate Director, Election Law @ Moritz

Voting activists descended upon Washington last week to urge enactment of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005 (H.R. 550). This bill is one of several that aims to enhance the security of electronic voting machines, by requiring that they produce a contemporaneous paper record of the electronic ballot, or voter-verified paper record. While H.B. 550 has some worthy features, Congress should not enact the bill in its present form because its core requirement would do more harm than good.

What the Bill Would Do

H.R. 550 is a modified version of a bill that was considered but not enacted by the last Congress (H.R. 2239). The chief sponsor of both bills is Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ). This years version has 135 co-sponsors in the House, almost all of them Democrats.

H.R. 550 would amend certain provisions of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the election reform law passed in 2002. The centerpiece of the current bill is its requirement that all voting systems produce or require the use of an individual voter-verified paper record of the voters vote. For electronic touchscreen machines, this would require an attached printer that would generate a paper print-out of the voters vote.

While HAVA already requires that voting systems generate a paper record, H.R. 550 would go further. In particular, it would require that electronic voting machines generate a paper record contemporaneously that is, at the time of voting so that the voter has the opportunity to verify his or her choices. This requirement would take effect on January 1, 2006, the effective date of HAVAs other voting system requirements.

This sounds good on paper (apologies for the pun), but the results would be chaotic and possibly disastrous in practice. The most conspicuous problem is timing. It is unrealistic to require all jurisdictions using electronic voting technology to obtain printer add-ons by the 2006 election. Thats particularly true, given that there arent any federal standards for this device in place yet.

As many election officials discovered in the wake of the 2000 election, rushing the transition to new voting technology can cause more problems than it solves. A 2006 deadline doesnt give states and counties nearly enough time to investigate their options, go through the procurement process, implement the new equipment, train their poll workers, and educate their voters.

Worse still, there is no provision exempting counties that have already made a successful transition to electronic voting technology. The State of Georgia, for example, moved to electronic voting throughout the state and saw the number of uncounted votes decline dramatically in 2004, particularly in heavily-minority precincts. Under H.R. 550, Georgia election officials would have just a few short months in which to replace their existing system or retrofit it with an as-yet unproven printing device. Thats inviting trouble. It would be unfortunate if Congress enacted legislation that had the effect of reversing the substantial improvements in technology since the 2000 election.

The Experience in the States

Even beyond the timing issue, its doubtful that H.R. 550 provides a workable or effective solution to the legitimate concerns regarding electronic voting security. So far, only one state Nevada has actually implemented an electronic voting machine with a contemporaneous paper record on any significant scale. Anecdotal evidence indicates that few voters actually bothered to check the contemporaneous paper records. A serious and unbiased analysis of Nevadas experiment is needed, before even considering a national mandate.

While experiments like Nevadas are to be encouraged, its a mistake to lock in place a particular would-be solution especially one thats expensive and not yet proven. This will only discourage states from trying other mechanisms that may turn out to be more effective. In the end, it may actually make our voting system less secure than it otherwise would be.

Congress should also look to the experience of states that have passed legislation to require a contemporaneous paper record. The experience of California and Ohio, in particular, demonstrates the hazards of mandating a contemporaneous paper record.

In California, former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley issued a directive requiring that electronic voting systems generate a contemporaneous paper record effective 2006, and the California legislature wrote this requirement into state law last year. The dilemma that counties face is that its not at all clear whether these systems will actually work effectively or, alternatively, whether paper jams, privacy issues, lack of accessibility, or the difficulty in reading the paper print-outs will hamper their effectiveness.

The result of this dilemma has been for the largest county in the United States, Los Angeles County, to retain its Inkavote system an optical scan system that functions like the Votomatic punch card machine, but with dots that voters fill in instead of chad. This device was intended to be an interim solution, and is an improvement over the Votomatic that Los Angeles County used before 2004. But while hanging chads arent a problem with the Inkavote, its equally difficult for voters to check their work. The Inkavote is therefore inferior to the paperless electronic systems currently available, which not only reduce the number of uncounted votes but also provide accessibility advantages for disabled and non-English proficient voters. The result of Californias paper-trail bill has thus been to hinder the countrys largest electoral jurisdiction from moving to better technology.

The experience of Ohio, which also passed a law requiring a contemporaneous paper record last year, is equally illustrative. In Ohio, the result of this law has been to give a virtual monopoly of the electronic voting market to a single company the oft-reviled Diebold. Until recently, there were no electronic systems certified in the state that satisfied the states requirement that these machines generate a voter verified paper audit trail. The only system presently certified is manufactured by Diebold and it is presently unclear whether any other systems will be certified in time to be implemented in 2006. Thus, in Ohio, the ironic result of the campaign to require a contemporaneous paper record was to give a virtual lock on the market to the very company that has been the poster child for the supposed ills of electronic voting.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Californias and Ohios experience with voter verified paper trail laws should give pause to anyone who believes that H.R. 550 is the magic bullet to the problem of electronic voting security. More fundamentally, the bill rests upon the questionable premise that paper is less susceptible to manipulation than electronic records. While there have been a number of documented instances of fraud in past elections, most have taken place with paper ballots; none have taken place with electronic voting.

Moreover, its unlikely that the recount process mandated by the current version of H.R. 550 would catch fraud, even if it did occur with an electronic voting machine. The bill would require that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) conduct a manual recount of two percent of all precincts in the country in each general election. At least one precinct per county would be recounted. This would impose an enormous burden on the EAC, requiring unprecedented coordination among federal, state and local election officials, but would have only modest benefits. It would do nothing to catch fraud at the local level, where it is more likely to occur given that relatively small changes in vote totals can swing an election. Even for federal races, such a recount would by itself provide little reason for increased confidence in the accuracy of the result, according to this analysis by VoteHeres Andrew Neff. Neff's analysis finds that a two percent precinct recount of a U.S. House race would catch a five percent change in the results (either accidentally or maliciously) with only 40 percent confidence. The bottom line is that the recount process mandated by H.R. 550 would impose a heavy financial burden on the federal government, while doing little to promote electoral integrity.

It is certainly important that voters be allowed to check their work. The paperless electronic voting machines already available allow voters to do this, in a way thats likely to be more effective than a contemporaneous paper record that voters may or may not actually check. The best thing that may be said of allowing voters to check a paper record is that it functions as a sort of placebo, helping to elevate public confidence that elections are being conducted on the square. Even here, however, the benefits of paper are overstated. Approximately 90 percent of ballots in Washingtons recent gubernatorial election, for example, were cast by paper ballot. Yet this did little to convince the loser that he or she lost, one of the supposed advantages of paper.

None of this is to say that fraud and error are impossible with electronic voting. But better testing and procedures are much more likely to promote electoral integrity than a printer add-on. The $150 million that H.R. 550 would authorize for such hardware not to mention the unknown amounts that would be required on an ongoing basis for the 2 percent national recount would be much better spent on improving the testing and certification of voting machines. The EAC is presently engaged in this process, but progress has been hampered by Congress delay in funding its work.
<snip>

and so on..... sigh

:-(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. A long but informative post papau!
Edited on Sat Sep-17-05 12:33 PM by Bill Bored
Well, I woke up today thinking about the "contemporaneous" issue and there it was right here on DU!

The EAC "ruling" does not seem to say the paper must be printed contemporaneously, as the vote is cast, nor that the voter should be able to verify it. But it does say that it must provide a "chain of evidence connecting summary results to original transactions."

What does this mean? If we had access to the source code of the machine, and if we knew that the electronic ballot images were never altered after the voters verified them, and if we could print those images and use them for a paper recount, we might have a such a chain of evidence without the voter verifying the paper record contemporaneously. But a smart lawyer might be able to argue that because there is no evidence that the e-ballots were not tampered with, and that the source code that produces and counts them is proprietary, a paper record that is not contemporaneously voter verified does NOT meet the standard of a "chain of evidence connected to the original transaction."

So I think this ruling could cut both ways.

The one good thing is that any DRE that can't at least print out all the e-ballots on paper can't be used in federal elections in 2006. If it's argued that they can be, then so can mechanical lever machines without this capability.

And of course, all this would ultimately have to be settled in the courts unless the law is clarified by HR550 or similar legislation, or by state laws.

What a MESS!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. I agree - If lever is out, logic says DRE w/o paper is out - BUT EAC
seems to have given DRE a pass so as to "help the disabled"
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-18-05 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. When does the 2002 VVSS become mandatory?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
5. Wait.......how does this apply?
From Georgia's officials about DREs:

Hardcopy "print-outs" of each ballot cast on our system CAN be produced (they would print out similar to an opti-scan layout) in the event of a hand recount --- which meets HAVA requirements.
Kara Sinkule
Office of Secretary of State
(404) 657-4597
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Yeah I suspected that. See post #7. We are still in the dark. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. If this is a print out of the fraud in the voting database, it may meet
the paper rule - but it sure does not pass the smell test.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Pig Farmer Donating Member (12 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
6. What is an Original Transaction?
Isnt the Original Transaction the voter hitting the touchscreen in whatever pattern including errors, undo's etc? I mean, the VVPB is the Summary Result of what the voter did and many different sets of Original Transactions would give the same Summarey Result.

So Avante and even autoMark don't qualify based on what the EAC says.

But optiscans, esp. ones that take a picture of the ballot, are OK, as the Original Transaction is inserting the ballot to be scanned.

Right?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TheStates Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. It would seem to me this language includes all voting machines...
Therefore wouldn't it be true to state that Diebold violates HAVA?

Because, as the law in HAVA states the ballot of record must be verifiable and re-countable by the voter. I.E. A manual automatic audit must be processed in vote cases.

But Diebold's paper trail freezes and falters, making its function as a hand countable ballot useless. Therefore, the reasoning for using Diebold's tabulators becomes moot doesn't it?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-18-05 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. that may be a misread-
" HAVA states the ballot of record must be verifiable and re-countable by the voter"
I have the cite-- which I can dredge up later-- the "official record" is the end of voting tally. Not the Digital ballot images-- which are not pictures and cannot be printed out.

Of course Pig farmer is right-- that is not the Original.

When the EAC does this shit they really ruin their credibility. >wink<
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-18-05 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. Right- but HAVA IIRC doesnt cite the original transaction, does it ?
IIRC HAVA cites the official record to be the tally print out----
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. More discussion in LBN
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Apr 23rd 2019, 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC