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https://www.propublica.org/article/the-way-america-votes-is-...

This is similar/close to the idea I proposed some time ago. Key points: It works and everyone loves it.
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No. of Recommendations: 16
I prefer the optical readers that we use. There is no need for multiple machines at each polling location. Each voter gets a paper ballot and fills in the dots for the candidates they want to vote for. Take your completed ballot to the optical reader and insert. You are all done. There are not multiple machines to break. You don't need to run electrical lines to each voting station. You don't have to wait in line for the next voting machine to use. If you don't want to wait for a privacy stand, you can fill out your ballot on the wall, on the floor and any other open space in the room. There is a physical ballot to start. No one that needs a printer for the person to print the ballot out. Maybe there is a glitch in the MS. machines that prints the wrong selections on the ballot and the person is too lazy to confirm.

With the optical scanner, if someone challenges the count, you pull out the paper ballots and run through a second scanner. If you are still unsure, you can hand count the ballots.

PSU
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I prefer the optical readers that we use. There is no need for multiple machines at each polling location.

Your system has a single point of catastrophic failure--the optical reader. The system described could produce a machine-readable form if it was desired. They also use a scanner (which is why they printed out a paper ballot--so there is a paper trail). It is not required, but that is why they tested it.
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The ones we used sound like PSUengineer:

Fill in the dots on a sheet of paper with a pencil and then feed it into a scanner. Assuming it's not also a shredder, there remains a paper ballot which can be re-scanned (or hand counted)

Jeff
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Your system has a single point of catastrophic failure--the optical reader. The system described could produce a machine-readable form if it was desired. They also use a scanner (which is why they printed out a paper ballot--so there is a paper trail). It is not required, but that is why they tested it.

There is a backup scanner. If both fail, they can collect all the ballots and count them at HQ. But there is a lot less equipment to buy and maintain versus the voting system you linked. 30 or more people can vote at one time where I vote.. I'd hate to think of the expense of 30 machines. For cost purposes, if they limited to 10 machines, I'd hate to think of the long lines waiting for a machine to open so I could vote.

PSU
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No. of Recommendations: 4
WA State uses paper ballots which are mailed weeks in advance of the election. The state also mails thick pamphlets detailing every issue and referendum and candidate, including the financial impact on the state budget, arguments pro and con (and rebuttals) and much more.

DH and I enjoy taking hours to vote, reading the pamphlets and discussing the issues. We fill in the little boxes with black ink, then seal and sign the envelopes.


Then we mail the ballots in pre-paid envelopes. (Actually, I drop ours into the town collection box to save the taxpayers the postage.) Obviously, the state then has valid, re-countable ballots and also signed envelopes to check against authentic signatures on our voter registration and driver's licenses.

This is the best system I have ever seen. I think everyone should use it.
Wendy
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But there is a lot less equipment to buy and maintain versus the voting system you linked.

Not really, as the eqpt can be used for many years. Plus, it is using low-cost tablets, so the purchase price is low to start. Plus, buying qty means an even lower unit cost.
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Fill in the dots on a sheet of paper with a pencil and then feed it into a scanner. Assuming it's not also a shredder, there remains a paper ballot which can be re-scanned (or hand counted)

Same thing where I vote (and volunteered to work at a polling place in 2016). One scanner to record the votes, with two bins inside: one for complete ballots and one for provisional ballots, that are hand counted, for people who lacked proper ID (Michigan requires a driver's license or other government issued ID). When voting is complete, the scanner transmits the totals to the Township Clerk's office via cellphone link. The paper ballots and logs are placed in tamper evident bags and delivered to the Township hall by hand, so there is a paper trail.

Steve
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WA State uses paper ballots which are mailed weeks in advance of the election.

Michigan voters approved a proposal in 18 so anyone could request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots used to only be available to people who were required to be out of town on election day, and old phartz. I received my form to request an absentee ballot a few months ago, but I like going down to the polls to vote. It becomes my outing for the day, and when I go, in early afternoon, there is never a big line.

The state also mails thick pamphlets

We are on our own for figuring out what is on the ballot. After all, it costs money to inform voters.

Then we mail the ballots in pre-paid envelopes. (Actually, I drop ours into the town collection box to save the taxpayers the postage.)

I voted absentee the year I worked at the polling place. The township hall is less than half a mile from the post office, so I dropped the ballot at the clerk's office as the difference in travel time and gas vs the post office is insignificant.

Steve
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I wrote the Texas Secretary of State asking for paper ballots. They said they’re happy with what they have.
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WendyBG writes,

Then we mail the ballots in pre-paid envelopes. (Actually, I drop ours into the town collection box to save the taxpayers the postage.) Obviously, the state then has valid, re-countable ballots and also signed envelopes to check against authentic signatures on our voter registration and driver's licenses.

This is the best system I have ever seen. I think everyone should use it.

</snip>


It depends on what your goals are. If a strong voter turnout doesn't serve your political ends, it's preferable to keep people standing in line out in the rain or snow to discourage them.

intercst
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Just as a side note (and a reminder to write to my election board), NYC sent out voter ID cards which some polling places (incorrectly) demanded from perspective voters before they could poll. My polling place asked my name and address, asked me to sign an iPad and gave me the ballot (without even asking for a driver's license).

Go figure.

Jeff
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Not really, as the eqpt can be used for many years. Plus, it is using low-cost tablets, so the purchase price is low to start. Plus, buying qty means an even lower unit cost.

The optical scanner used here is not a one-use throwaway machine. They've just started replacing the 15 year old machines with newer scanners.

I will note that you didn't address that under the system you like, the time needed to vote is dependent on the number of working machines available. Under our optical scanner system, it is not dependent on number of machines available. It doesn't even require a working machine. If the scanner fails like any piece of electronic equipment that can (such as your multiple voting machines), voting can still take place.

PSU
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Then we mail the ballots in pre-paid envelopes. (Actually, I drop ours into the town collection box to save the taxpayers the postage.) Obviously, the state then has valid, re-countable ballots and also signed envelopes to check against authentic signatures on our voter registration and driver's licenses.

This is the best system I have ever seen. I think everyone should use it.


How do you know the post office delivered the ballot?

PSU
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I will note that you didn't address that under the system you like, the time needed to vote is dependent on the number of working machines available.

It is dependent on the space available for people to fill out their ballot (electronic or paper). An electronic system allows more simultaneous voters in a voting area. A paper system requires each person's vote be shielded from any other person, so more physical space is required for paper voting (thus, fewer simultaneous voters).

An electronic ballot is fast and easy to change when the voter changes his/her mind (or notices an error/omission while reviewing it). Far more difficult, and time consuming, to change an error on a paper ballot.
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Oregon *requires* paper ballots, so there is a literal paper trail to follow for recounts or suspicions of malfeasance.

The county clerk receives the ballots in a sealed envelope with the voter's name, address and signature.

When these are verified*, the envelope is opened and the privacy envelope removed and tossed in the 'approved' pile.

Then that batch of privacy envelopes are opened and the votes tallied by an optical reader.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has been pushing for a system like this to be mandatory for federal elections for years.

I can't think of a convincing reason why we wouldn't

--sutton
(*who received an inquiry from the clerk one year, as I had signed my envelope "sutton" and my registration card was signed "Willie F Sutton". So they do actually check at least a sampling of signatures)
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It is dependent on the space available for people to fill out their ballot (electronic or paper). An electronic system allows more simultaneous voters in a voting area. A paper system requires each person's vote be shielded from any other person, so more physical space is required for paper voting (thus, fewer simultaneous voters).

You only need a few inches wider than the ballot which is about 11" wide. There is no requirement that a person must fill out their ballot in privacy. If you don't want to wait for a booth, then fill it out anywhere in the room. Space has never been a problem here. Heavy volume would fill up a room faster when using electronic voting machines. Not only do you not have to deal with anyone unfamiliar with an electronic device, you don't have to wait for your ballot to be printed or wait for someone to refill the printer with paper. There is no way you are going to convince me that numerous machines are cheaper than one or they're faster than filling in dots on a piece of paper. Enjoy your electronic machines. Paper ballots cannot be hacked.

PSU
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No. of Recommendations: 2
If you are still unsure, you can hand count the ballots.

Just remember, it is not who votes that counts but who counts the votes that is important.

JLC
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