Paper Trail E-Voting Success In Nevada Getting Attention

from the about-time... dept

Remember the primary in Nevada that used e-voting machines with a paper trail? The same ones that election officials elsewhere wanted to fail, but which worked quite well? In fact, there were very few problems reported, unlike in states like Florida and Maryland, where there are tons of problems being reported by those using electronic voting machines with no paper trail. Well, it appears that some state governments are deciding that, thanks to Nevada's success e-voting with a paper record is the way to go. While those against such machines kept claiming that the paper would cause problems for workers, that clearly wasn't the case in Nevada. So, now, the election officials are grasping at straws for reasons why a verifiable paper trail is no good, claiming that poll workers could check to see how people voted -- though, that's more of a design issue. A properly designed polling machine would not let workers view how someone just voted. Either way, it looks like the message is getting across that the combined e-voting and paper receipt is a better way to go. It's certainly far from perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. Update: Thanks to Ed Felten for pointing out that I misspoke in calling the paper trail "receipts," which would suggest they are taken by the voter. They are not. They remain in the machine behind a protective viewing window. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise, but I can understand how the use of the word "receipt" would imply that. The post has been edited accordingly.

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  • identicon
    Ed Felten, 25 Oct 2004 @ 10:50am

    not a receipt

    The paper records generated by Nevada's voting machines are *not* receipts, they're ballots. A receipt is something you take home with you; a ballot ends up in a ballot box at the polling place.
    The distinction is important, for two reasons. First, a receipt would let you prove to a third party how you voted, which is bad because it opens the door to coercion and vote-buying. Second, a ballot can be used to recount the votes or to audit the electronic voting machine's performance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed Felten, 25 Oct 2004 @ 10:50am

    not a receipt

    The paper records generated by Nevada's voting machines are *not* receipts, they're ballots. A receipt is something you take home with you; a ballot ends up in a ballot box at the polling place. The distinction is important, for two reasons. First, a receipt would let you prove to a third party how you voted, which is bad because it opens the door to coercion and vote-buying. Second, a ballot can be used to recount the votes or to audit the electronic voting machine's performance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve Mueller, 25 Oct 2004 @ 10:05pm

    Unethical Poll Workers

    So, now, the election officials are grasping at straws for reasons why a verifiable paper trail is no good, claiming that poll workers could check to see how people voted -- though, that's more of a design issue. A properly designed polling machine would not let workers view how someone just voted.
    I really don't understand this complaint. Why can't voters put the printed ballot in a special locked container, like, say, oh, a ballot box?

    In San Benito County in California, we used punch card ballots. After voting, we put the ballots in an envelope and dropped them in the ballot box. If that was good enough for main ballots, why wouldn't it be sufficient for backup ballots?

    P.S. It's good to see the legendary Ed Felten here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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