[E-voting] E-voting/e-counting chaos in scotland (fwd)
Dr J Pelan
J.Pelan at gatsby.ucl.ac.uk
Fri May 18 12:31:00 IST 2007
On Wed, 16 May 2007, Catherine Ansbro wrote:
> From the description of the layout-related counting problems (people using
> numbers instead of X and vice-versa), perhaps many of these would not have
> been spoiled if they had been counted by hand right from the start. E.g., an
> X instead of a 1 would have been clear at least for a first-preference vote--I
> don't know what the Scottish rules are regarding counting votes where the
> intent was clear. Same if someone had used a 1 instead of an X.
Whatever the counting mechanism, human or machine, there have to be clear
rules as to the interpretation of the voters intentions. This is not
unique to e-counting nor are the machines entrusted as the ultimate
arbiters of a spoilt ballot.
As has been suggested in the past, a simple solution, (machine generated
ballots aside) is to provide a 'counting machine' at each polling station
whereby a voter can, if they so chose, pre-validate their vote against the
machine. Voter education also helps tremendously as does a voting system
that remains consistent for successive or coincident elections - voters
don't like change or surprises.
One has to take care to distinguish the issues inherent to a particular
technology from those brought about by short-comings in the particular
implementation. There is no prima facie reason why an audited e-counting
election cannot provide equivalent performance characteristics to those of
a hand-counted one. In raising undue concern about e-counting, one may
inadverently shift the focus onto DRE, which is not where we want to go.
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