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Voting equipment - Phil's Rambling Rants
March 16th, 2004
04:40 pm

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Voting equipment
I voted this morning. I was surprised to find that my rural Vermilion Country precinct had been upgraded to (I assume) state of the art mark-sense ballots.

A very straightforward, easy-to-vote paper ballot, the only drawback being that it's the fill-in-the-oval sort, and the ovals are excessively large, requiring more scribbling than they should. (Much easiler to tell what you're voting for than the Vote-o-Matic machines that I've used in every election I've ever voted in before.) Then, when you're done, you slide the ballot sheet into the slot on the big shiny box, which slurps it up. I trust that if I had double-marked any of the races, it would in fact have spit it back out at me as it was advertised to do. It gave me a little bit of local pride that we have updated equipment, when my mom the election judge told me that Champaign County's still using the tired old Vote-O-Matics.

I chatted with the election judges about voting machines a bit. I told them that I program computers for a living, and I know how easy it would be for a touch screen terminal to claim to be recording your vote one way and really going the other way. And without a real paper ballot that can be counted if there's a question, there's no way to tell and nothing you can do about it anyway if the touch screen is rigged. The judges' reaction, as I read it, was a little "Wow, I never thought of that" light bulb. Maybe I gave a few people a clue today.

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From:tnatj
Date:March 16th, 2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
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Ah, my local city (the thriving metropolis of Otsego, Michigan, home to 4000 souls) has the mark-sense voting sheets.

And yes, the reader-machine will spit it back out if you overvote in a race.

:-)
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