[E-voting] experience with VVAT

Marian Beddill beddill at nas.com
Sat Mar 25 15:20:19 GMT 2006

At 3/25/2006  05:12 AM, you wrote:

>Marian Beddill a écrit :
>> Along the way, we performed a
>> "double-check" hand count of randomly-selected batches of ballots, in
>> the presence of observers who watched the batches be counted by teams of
>> staffers, then counted by the machines.  
>Isn't it the wrong order ? You must hand count AFTER you got the
>electronic result. Or else, someone could discreetly switch the machine
>to a different mode.
>How is it controlled that all batches add up correctly ?
>Pierre Muller, webmaster of http://www.recul-democratique.org
>French citizens critical of e-voting.

Pierre et al;

I (and my voting-integrity associates) absolutely agree that the order of counting should be reversed - machine first and hand-count afterwards.  We were stymied by an old state law which blocks that (with exceptions only if ordered by officials, with cause). A bill to change the law failed in the Legislature this year. 

The batch control was done (if I understand your question) since the batches of ballots, out of or inside their boxes, were at all times through this (sampled) double-checking process kept in view of the crowd of staff and citizen observers from both political parties.  We saw them brought from the vault, opened on the tables in the conference-room-turned-handcount-center, saw them double-counted by staff, saw the tallies written down, saw them loaded back into the boxes, walked as a group with the staff carrying the boxes down the stairs, saw the "prox-lock" doors to the processing room be opened, saw the booting of the op-scan computers, saw them fed into the hopper of the counting scanners, saw the stacks out of the machines places back into boxes and sealed, saw the printout of the machine count and compared the numbers to the hand count tallies, and saw those sealed boxes move across the hall into the secure storage vault.  

This was done starting at the moment of the official closing of the polls - 8:PM on election day. (State law forbids counting ballots before the polls close.)  

The batches were the sets of ballots from three randomly-selected precincts, and one mutually-agreed contest - the selection having been done early that morning. 

All of this was done, a great achievement I believe, by agreement between the two (otherwise very antagonistic) political parties and the elected Elections Officer (called, ironically, the County Auditor).  It ain't perfect, but we all agree that it has been done very well. 

Marian Beddill
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