[E-voting] Re: Voter Verified Audit Trail - Insight from US

Aengus Lawlor aengusl at eircom.net
Mon Aug 21 17:30:00 IST 2006

On Monday, August 21, 2006 7:24 AM [EDT],
Margaret McGaley <mmcgaley at cs.nuim.ie> wrote:

>> No one wants a continuous reel of ballots, do they? That preserves
>> casting-order which endangers secrecy.
>> Margaret
>>> 2) The printers would have to cut the ballot paper in order
>>>     to separate the votes. If you want a random sample, then they
>>>     need to be physically mixed, and it could be difficult to
>>>    achieve this with a continuous reel of printed votes.
>>> - Michael.

This notion of "paper reel" printers comes from the original Mercuri design, 
and what seems to be a weird American fetish about voters not being allowed 
to actually handle the ballot (ballot behind a perspex screen, etc). It has 
been used as a stick to beat the VVAT/VVPT argument, and allowed our home 
grown "modernisers" to raise all sorts of red-herrings about receipts, etc.

In line with the insistence that the paper ballot should be the legally 
binding ballot, any printer added to voting machines should be an ink/toner 
based printer (rather than a thermal printer), and should print ballots on 
standard sized blanks (an A4 or A5 sheet will do nicely, thank you), which 
the voter must then take, fold and place in a seperate ballot box. The 
"voting machine" then becomes simply a ballot printer, and it's count can be 
used to give a "quick count" that will be conformed the following day by a 
hand count. There's no need to worry about a facility for cancelling votes - 
if a voter changes his or her mind, they get a replacement ballot form from 
the officials, and the "quick count" is off by one. Big deal - that's exacty 
why it shouldn't be the legally binding result. In fact, I'd go further and 
say that voters should be allowed to vote manually in such a system, if they 
wanted to, but with the clear caveat that any ambiguity would render the 
ballot "spoiled".


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