E-Voting News and Analysis, from the Experts

Thursday November 04, 2004

A lawgeek in Oakland, CA mans a battery of Diebold machines

Filed under: — Joseph Lorenzo Hall @ 10:37 am PST

Brian Carver, a law student at Boalt, was a poll inspector in Oakland, CA (Alameda County) and has a long and comprehensive write-up of his 16-hour day manning a battery of 5 Diebold AccuVote-TS machines. Here’s a bulleted summary:

  • The training of poll workers is inadequate.
  • The voting machines face numerous security and technical problems.
  • About 15% of my voters refused to vote on a machine without a paper trail.
  • Most of those voters were also extremely angry that their only alternative to the machines was a “provisional paper ballot". There were numerous heated arguments about the word ‘provisional’. People do not want a provisional paper ballot that may or may not be counted and that will not be counted right away. They want a “true paper ballot” that always counts and that is counted on election day.
  • Absentee voters (and perhaps election officials) do not understand the rules for absentee voting.
  • Being a poll worker is extremely stressful and exhausting and you should fall down and worship the poll workers at each and every election you vote in from now on.
  • My view now is that the best election system is the simplest election system. In every single aspect of the election the paramount question should be: is there a simpler way to do this?

1 Comment »

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  1. Anyone should expect, given the diversity of the American people, and their uneven knowlege - or even acceptance - of the digital age, that there is going to be resistance to wholesale implementation of electronic voting machines.

    Prior to this, and INCLUDING a paper trail, was the punch card system (oversized and cumbersome, resulting in unnecessarily HUGE amounts of material to handle and process, store, etc.).

    Now, in this human world, you ARE going to HAVE poll workers anyway, so why not design and manufacture a voting card system wherein the poll workers perform a minimum amount of work, with a minimum amount of equipment and material, and all are certified as to their training and competency.

    The medium could be as small as a credit card, and the voting process could be very private - wherein each voter works out their choices before hand, punches out ONLY their votes, then drops off their vote in person (with I.D.), to be checked off of the district database after meeting with a REAL PERSON at their polling place, and having their vote card accepted and counted as the staff inserts it into the reader.

    The card has a unique identifier on it for the entire list of votes, and their vote card is GIVEN BACK after their voting is complete

    Gliches in the system for any group of votes are relatively easy to fix, and verifications are more easily possible. Backups are made each hour of the district hard drive, county votes are cumulatively electronically tablulated (almost instantly), and appeals are easily traced back to source districts to recheck individual groups of votes where necessary - THEY HAVE THEIR CARD!

    Technology could also allow for this info to be tabulated on the back of each voter’s driver’s license or ID card (several years of info on one chip). All technology that exists….real rough.

    Comment by Michael Plowman — Thursday November 04, 2004 @ 1:38 pm PST

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