ballot-marking device

Tag Archive

Editorials: Good, bad and ambiguous in Georgia’s new voting system | Wenke Lee/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Although I’m pleased the Georgia General Assembly acted quickly this session to address flaws in our current voting equipment, I remain concerned that, overall, our state has chosen the less-secure, more-cumbersome, costly option and that too many details — essential for election security and voter confidence — are still undefined. First, let’s review what’s right about HB 316 and what Georgia gained. It requires: pre-certification election audits to validate initial outcomes; “voting in absolute secrecy;” that voting equipment produce a paper record in a format readable by humans, and that equipment will “mark correctly and accurately.” I’m also pleased that voter education is part of this bill, in the albeit very modest stipulation that poll workers post signs reminding voters to read, review, and verify paper printouts before casting their final votes. What’s bad about HB 316 is what it could have accomplished but did not: human-readable, hand-marked paper ballots — by far the most cost-effective and cybersecure method of voting. Instead, it establishes a system where electronic ballot markers (EBMs) are used to generate a paper receipt of voter selections — rather than a hand, holding a pen to paper. Overwhelmingly, citizens, computer scientists, cybersecurity experts, and nonpartisan groups recommended and requested hand-marked paper ballots in Georgia over any other method. I am baffled as to why state lawmakers repeatedly ignored such an overwhelming cry.

Full Article: Opinion: Good, bad and ambiguous in new voting system.

Georgia: Panel backs new voting machines over hand-marked paper ballots | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A panel formed by Gov.-elect Brian Kemp voted Thursday to replace Georgia’s electronic voting machines with a computerized system that prints paper ballots, despite opposition from a crowd of voters who said paper ballots filled out by hand are more secure and less expensive. The endorsement of ballot printers over hand-marked paper ballots will carry weight with the Georgia General Assembly when it considers buying a new statewide voting system during this year’s legislative session, which begins Monday. The Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission voted 13-3 to recommend a voting system with touchscreens and printers, called ballot-marking devices, that would cost taxpayers well over $100 million. A system using paper ballots bubbled in with a pen would cost around $30 million. The vote came the same week Kemp announced he was hiring former state Rep. Chuck Harper, a lobbyist for the state’s current election vendor, Election Systems & Software, as his deputy chief of staff. The company sells the same kind of voting system that the commission recommended. … Except for election officials and lobbyists, every voter who made public comments Thursday supported hand-marked paper ballots. County election supervisors backed ballot-marking devices, saying they’re similar to the touchscreens that voters are accustomed to.

Full Article: Commission backs new voting system to replace Georgia's machines.

Georgia: Commission recommends machine-marked ballots for Georgia | Associated Press

After Georgia’s 2018 elections focused stinging criticism on the state’s outdated election system, a study commission voted Thursday to recommend the use of machines that record votes and print a record. Members of the panel tasked with considering a potential replacement chose that option over hand-marked paper ballots favored by cybersecurity experts. The Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections, or SAFE, Commission voted 13-3 for a draft of a report to be sent to lawmakers, who are expected to decide on criteria for a new system during the legislative session that begins Monday. The commission includes lawmakers, political party representatives, voters and election officials. … Verified Voting, a nonprofit group that advocates ensuring the accuracy of elections, last week urged the commission to recommend hand-marked paper ballots. “A paper ballot that is indelibly marked by hand and physically secured from the moment of casting is the most reliable record of voter intent,” president Marian Schneider wrote in a Jan. 4 letter. “A hand-marked paper ballot is the only kind of record not vulnerable to software errors, configuration errors, or hacking.”

Full Article: Commission recommends machine-marked ballots for Georgia - ABC News.

Verified Voting Blog: An unverifiability principle for voting machines | Andrew Appel

This article was originally posted at Freedom to Tinker on October 22, 2018.

In my last three articles I described the ES&S ExpressVote, the Dominion ImageCast Evolution, and the Dominion ImageCast X (in its DRE+VVPAT configuration).  There’s something they all have in common: they all violate a certain principle of voter verifiability.

  • Any voting machine whose physical hardware can print votes onto the ballot after the last time the voter sees the paper,  is not a voter verified paper ballot system, and is not acceptable.
  • The best way to implement this principle is to physically separate the ballot-marking device from the scanning-and-tabulating device.  The voter marks a paper ballot with a pen or BMD, then after inspecting the paper ballot, the voter inserts the ballot into an optical-scan vote counter that is not physically capable of printing votes onto the ballot.

The ExpressVote, IC-Evolution, and ICX all violate the principle in slightly different ways: The IC-Evolution one machine allows hand-marked paper ballots to be inserted (but then can make more marks), the ExpressVote in one configuration is a ballot-marking device (but after you verify that it marked your ballot, you insert it back into the same slot that can print more votes on the ballot), and IC-X configured as DRE+VVPAT can also print onto the ballot after the voter inspects it.  In fact, almost all DRE+VVPATs can do this:  after the voter inspects the ballot, print VOID on that ballot (hope the voter doesn’t notice), and then print a new one after the voter leaves the booth.

Connecticut: New voting devices for voters with disabilities | Monroe Courier

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced that Connecticut will have a new accessible ballot marking system at polling places statewide on Election Day, Nov. 8 that is designed to improve the voting experience for people with disabilities. “We know that people with disabilities are some of Connecticut’s most active and engaged citizens and that they will be a force in this year’s presidential election. We want to make sure that when they turn out to vote this November, they have the most high-tech services available,” Merrill said. The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number to enter the system. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.

Full Article: New voting devices for voters with disabilities | Monroe Courier.

Connecticut: Disabled Voters to Use New, State-of-the-Art System Nov. 8 | CT News Junkie

Voters with disabilities will no longer, in the words of Secretary of State Denise Merrill, be forced to use “the clunky old system” when voting on Nov. 8. On Monday, Merrill and advocates for the disabled showed off the state’s new $1.5 million, state-of-the-art computerized system that will allow Connecticut’s disabled voters to first vote, and then print their ballots. “I am very excited about this,’’ Merrill said. “It is a real improvement over our old system. The beauty of it is people with disabilities will be able to vote just like everyone else.’’ The new stand-alone, tablet-based system requires no telephone or internet service and is intended to be adaptable to a variety of assistive technologies. The tablet system is a ballot-marking device that replaces the previous phone-fax technology. The previous system required poll workers to use a designated telephone with a secure, pre-registered number. Voters were then given a telephone handset after the calls were answered by a computer system that provided an audio ballot. Once the call ended, the ballot was faxed to the polling place.

Full Article: CT News Junkie | Disabled Voters to Use New, State-of-the-Art System Nov. 8.

Editorials: Protect South Carolina’s votes: Return to paper ballots | Duncan Buell/The State

With South Carolina poised to acquire a new election system to replace the mid-2000s system bought with federal funds, now is the time for citizens to get involved in what should be an open, transparent acquisition process. I recently chaired the annual conference of the Election Verification Network, which focused on the similar choices that local election officials face the nation over. The usual vendors are offering very few options, but virtually all jurisdictions are abandoning direct recording electronic systems like South Carolina’s and again adopting paper ballots that can be viewed by the voter, sampled and audited afterward, and provide a simpler system for poll workers.

Full Article: Buell: Protect our votes: Return to paper ballots | The State The State.

Voting Blogs: If you provide it, they still might not come: Marin County CA surveys disabled voters about voting | electionlineWeekly

Marin County, Calif.’s Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold was faced with a vexing problem. Since installing accessible ballot-marking devices in each precinct in 2006 in the Bay Area county, on average no more than seven disabled voters used the machines per election. The machines were there to make voting easier, but why weren’t voters using them? Ginnold had heard of no problems with the machines themselves and only anecdotally heard about voting preferences of some disabled voters. “We wondered why more voters weren’t using the accessible ballot marking machine at the polls, which are required by the Help America Vote Act [HAVA],” Ginnold said. “We wondered if we needed to do more outreach to encourage voters to use them. We also wondered if there could be accessibility issues we didn’t know about.”

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

Missouri: Senate Panel Considers Paper-Only Ballots | Associated Press

A Missouri Senate panel is considering a measure to phase out electronic voting machines. (The voting measure is SB375) The committee heard testimony Monday from some former poll workers who say the machines now used in Missouri malfunction and miscount votes. The legislation would require voters to use either paper ballots or certain ballot-marking devices to help people with disabilities. An electronic machine could still be used if it has an independent paper record of votes cast on the device.

Oklahoma: School for the Blind tests new voting machines | MuskogeePhoenix.com

Oklahoma voters with visual impairments will be able to cast ballots independently and privately this year for the first time in a presidential election. The state’s new voting machines incorporate an audio aid that guides blind voters through the various ballot choices. Once selections have been made, the audio device summarizes the selections made and provides voters an opportunity to change their choices before the ballot is cast. Jane Thomas, a social worker at the Oklahoma School for the Blind, said students who participated Wednesday in a mock election encountered “some glitches.” But for the most part, Thomas said the technology incorporated this year with the state’s new voting machines is “wonderful.”

Full Article: OSB tests new voting machines » Local News » MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK.