[E-voting] [US] No Consensus on Voting Machines

Patrick J. Kobly patrick at kobly.com
Thu Aug 28 17:59:31 IST 2003

On Thu, Aug 28, 2003 at 10:17:27AM +0100, Dave Madden wrote:
> Voting for the blind
> is always going to be tricky, by touch screen, paper or
> any other way that relies on seeing a list of candidates.
> (I wonder, are there braille printers?)

Yes.  Note that Canada (with a paper balloting system), there are a
number of methods provided in the Elections Act to assist those who
cannot read to mark their ballot papers:

The Deputy Returning Officer may, on request, assist the elector by
reading or marking the ballot in the presence of the poll clerk.

The DRO shall, on request provide a template (a plastic/cardboard
thing that identifies the candidates and fits over the ballot) to a
visually impaired elector.

An elector may request that a friend or family member accompany
him/her into the voting booth and assist.  However:
  - No person as a friend/relative can assist more than one elector in
  a given election.
  - Such a person must take an oath that he/she will mark as directed,
  will maintain secrecy, will not attempt to influence, and has not
  assisted another person to mark a ballot in this election.

> Of course in a way e-voting is a great equaliser - just
> as blind people may now be unable to see that their
> ballot is correct, with e-voting, _everyone_ will be
> equally unsure of their vote. (Actually I'm not sure just
> how blind people vote at the moment - is it by proxy/with
> assisance?)
> It's particularly disappointing to see part of the ACLU
> oppose the Mercuri method though. I'd have expected the
> ACLU to be ultra-wary of e-voting.

The ACLU has a different stake here.  They tend to be more concerned
about racial and economic disparity.  VVAT / Mercuri machines will
increase that disparity, unless they are required by federal law.
Rich, white counties will purchase the more expensive VVAT machines,
and poorer, black counties will purchase non-VVAT machines.  The ACLU
tends to be far more concerned about the machinery of registration
(who gets to vote, where do they have to go to vote, etc.) than the
machinery of voting or counting.

Bow down before the one you serve
You're going to get what you deserve
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