Re: Experiences with Sequoia AVC Edge with VeriVote Printer as Precinct Inspector in Santa Clara County

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Fri Jun 09 2006 - 16:34:43 CDT

At 8:49 AM -0600 6/9/06, Charlie Strauss wrote:
>on the one experienced did it have vinyl privacy panels enshrouding
>the paper printer? The ones I have used had a cut out in the metal
>privacy panel so you could view the rear mounter outrigger paper tape
>unit. Then to restore privacy they had vinyl cloth planels velcroed
>on this. The result was a very dark cloister for the paper trails
>and panels that when rattled often fell away. The recessed paper
>trail was also so far away from some voters that it was hard to
>read. Since then they apparently went to the larger font size which
>now means the ballot no longer can fit inside the window and they
>have to use this painful, slow pagination of the review ballot.
>Since the review ballot is not printed concurrently with vote
>selection but instead is batch generated when the review is requested
>prior to casting a ballot you have to wait for it to print the entire
>page. Now With the addition of pagination this becomes annoyingly
>slow. And you have to redo this if you make any changes.

You are essentially correct. The privacy panel velcro's to the paper
tape unit. It was dark to some and not very easy to read by the

>The other thing I wonder about is the Handicapped assitance remote
>control. The early ones were top heavy and bulky with a stiff cord
>that made them very difficult to strap to the arm of a wheel chair.
>Supposedly they were developing a more svelt unit. Did you use the
>new lighter unit or the older boxy one?

It looks like we have the older boxy ones. No one at our precinct
used that feature.

>What did you think of it.
>Did the new one have volume and font size controls?

I've never seen it in use.

>How was the response time on the touch screen when going from ballot
>page to ballot page? In particular was it quick to respond or did
>you have the urge to push the page-forward button a second time
>because of a sluggish response?

Response was fairly fast, but occasionally the touch screen was non-responsive.

>Did the paper tape use both english and spanish or just english or
>was it selectable?

What I saw was only English, but I do not know about the language for
bilingual ballots.

>Finally On the systems I used I noticed a flaw in the security
>concept that would allow someone to prove how they voted. Namely
>when you accepted the ballot it printed a bar code at the bottom of
>the paper tape and then began scrolling the ballot off the page. If
>one were to take a camera shot of the paper ballot at that moment you
>can prove how you voted since you are taking a picture of the ballot
>in it's post-casting state. IS that still the scheme?

That is still the scheme. It is a 2-D barcode that, according to a
Sequoia salesman, does encode the vote.

Best regards,

>On Jun 8, 2006, at 10:08 AM, Arthur Keller wrote:
>> On Tuesday, June 6, 2006, I served as Precinct Inspector at Precinct
>> 2112 in Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, California. This precinct
>> was combined with Precinct 2118, but there was a single roster book
>> and a single precinct board consisting of 6 poll workers, including
>> myself. I had previously served as a Precinct Inspector in the
>> November 2005 election using the Sequoia AVC Edge Direct Recording
>> Electronic voting machines, but without VeriVote printers. A
>> Precinct Inspector is the poll worker in charge of a polling place.
>> The VeriVote printers were added for June 6, 2006 as a result of
> > California state law that went into effect on January 1, 2006
>> requiring that Direct Recording Electronic voting machines have a
>> voter-verified accessible paper audit trail.
>> During poll worker training a few weeks before, some longtime poll
>> workers complained about the added work involving the use of the
>> VeriVote printers. These poll workers felt that the added security
> > was not necessary.
>> On Friday afternoon before the election, I went by the polling place,
>> a church, to obtain a key for opening the building on Tuesday
>> morning. A cart with the 5 voting machines had just been delivered.
>> The voting machines are strapped onto the cart, but there is no lock
>> or seal on them. On Saturday morning before the election, I went to
>> the regional satellite voting headquarters, another church parking
>> lot in Palo Alto, to pick up my inspectors materials to take home
>> with me. These materials included the activator and cards, the voter
>> roster, and the street address rosters.
>> On Monday evening, the day before the election, our precinct board
>> collected at the polling place to set up the voting machines. The
>> voting machines were extracted one by one from the cart, arrayed in
>> place, plugged one to another daisy chained and then to an electrical
>> outlet. We checked that they were all on. Some of them had the
>> yellow light indicating their backup batteries were being charged.
>> We also connected the VeriVote printers and turned the voting
>> machines on to test that they started up properly. We checked that
>> the voting cartridges were secured with numbered tamper proof seals.
>> We checked that the cover that is used to start and stop voting was
>> also secured with numbered tamper proof seals, but we did not open
>> that cover. We tested that the card activator turned on and
>> initialized. We turned off all the voting machines. We turned off
>> the lights and checked that the voting machines were still powered
>> on. We all left to return on Tuesday morning.
>> Our precinct board converged at the polls again on Election Day at 6
>> a.m. We checked the tamper proof seals, turned on the voting
>> machines, and enabled the start of voting. The VeriVote printers
>> printed a zero proof report, which also served to test the printers.
>> Unlike the November 2005 election, the start up process now involves
>> calibrating the touch screen. A few people were waiting patiently
>> for the opening of the polls at 7 a.m.
>> The sequence of steps for casting a ballot had changed from last time
>> because of the addition of the VeriVote printers. When the voter
>> reviews the ballot selections made, the voter may change one of the
>> selections by pressing on that contest. The voter is then shown the
>> original selection screen with that contest. Once the voter changes
>> the selection for that contest, as the voter presses next repeatedly
>> to get to the last selection screen, the voter can make additional
>> changes if desired. The voter then presses next to go the review
>> screen. Pressing next again gets to a message telling the voter to
>> press the screen to print the selections or review again. I was
>> asked by quite a few voters how to proceed if they did not want to
>> print their selections. I patiently explained that they had to print
>> their selections because the printout is used for recounts and we
>> need to be able to recount their vote, too. The entire list of
>> contests did not fit on one window's worth of paper audit trail. So
>> the voter was presented with a screen that gave the choices
>> "continue" or "review"; the "continue" choice printed the next
>> window-full of audit trail (the second and last batch) while the
>> "review" button voided the audit trail and displayed the review
>> screen again. Perhaps the "review" button should have said "make
>> changes" instead. After the final window-full of audit trail was
>> printed. The voter was presented with the choices "make changes" and
>> "cast ballot"; "make changes" voided the audit trail and brought back
>> the review screen, while "cast ballot" caused the "press to print
> > ballot choices" screen to reappear while the VeriVote printer printed
>> a bar code. Then a message appeared indicating that the ballot was
>> being recorded, while the VeriVote printer advanced the paper to
>> conceal the voter's choices. Once the vote was recorded, the
>> activation card was ejected, but that was before the voter's choices
>> had been completely concealed.
> >
>> I think the voter could get to the review screen directly from the
>> choice for that contest, but I believe the voter could not continue
>> from that review screen to print/cast the ballot from there.
>> Some voters asked how they get "their" printouts. I told them that
>> we keep the printouts for recounts, so they don't get a copy. Most
>> people don't know what an "voter-verified paper audit trail" is, or
>> even an "audit trail"; it's jargon. I suggest that we refer to it as
>> a "printed recount record" as then people instantly understand why
>> the Registrar of Voters keeps it rather than the voter. The ATM
>> receipt analogy is misleading as there is no monthly statement to
>> reconcile with your receipt.
>> The contests were "paginated" into numbered screens (1/8, 2/8, etc.).
>> There was a feature to change the display type size. The result was
>> a magnified display of the same numbered screens but with scroll bars
>> added. The voters I helped seemed befuddled with the scroll bars, as
>> they required one to scroll down, then to the right and up, and then
>> down again to examine the entire numbered screen. You also had to
>> scroll to get to the "next" button. Repagination with one column and
>> a "more" button would probably have been less confusing. Some voters
>> who tried the magnified screen got frustrated and returned to the
>> regular screen.
>> The sample ballot in the county voter booklet matched a hand-marked
>> paper ballot used for absentee voting. More than a dozen voters got
>> confused with the organization of contests on the touch screen as
>> compared with the sample ballot. The sample ballot was printed on a
>> series of pairs of facing pages. The sample ballot was printed so
>> that you had to rotate it 90 degrees to turn the pair of facing pages
>> into "portrait" mode. The sequence of contests on the voting machine
>> followed column by column of the sample ballot. The problem is that
>> you had to go from one facing page to the other to read an entire
>> column and then back again to get to the next column. Some voters
>> got disoriented when changing to the next sample ballot page as they
>> either turned the booklet to the wrong sample ballot page or switched
>> the pair of sample ballot pages at the wrong time.
>> Santa Clara County now requires support for five languages.
>> Unfortunately, all of the voting machines except for the one with
>> auditory support only had space for English plus two other languages.
>> The auditory voting machine supported more languages. Our combined
>> precinct polling place had about 1350 registered voters. About a
>> third of those were marked as absentee voters, some of whom were
>> permanent absentee voters. About 370 of the somewhat over 900
>> non-absentee voters cast ballots at our polling place at election
>> day. Several dozen absentee ballots were dropped off at the polls.
>> None of the voters at our polling place used the auditory voting
>> feature. Some of the voters did vote in Chinese. Fortunately, we
>> had a Chinese-speaking poll worker, because (as I understand it) the
>> voter could not actually cast a ballot in Chinese. Apparently, there
>> was an error in the sequence for Chinese of printing the review copy
>> and casting the ballot. I recall the problem being that there was no
>> "continue" button on the Chinese screen. I personally find this
>> astounding for these reasons. (1) I expect the logic to be
>> language-independent, with the text being slotted in for each
>> language into the right locations in a template, (2) I expect that
>> the logic for Chinese-language multi VeriVote-window ballot casting
>> should have been tested by the ITA and the California Secretary of
>> State prior to certification, and (3) the Santa Clara County
> > Registrar of Voters has a Logic and Accuracy Testing process that I
>> expect should have caught this problem.
>> We had about 30 voters per hour throughout most of the day.
>> Occasionally, none of the voting machines were in use. Quite often
>> all 5 of the voting machines we were allocated were in use. Several
>> times (particularly in the evening) as many as 5 voters were waiting
> > with activator cards in hand to use the voting machines. A longer
>> ballot (we had only 2 statewide propositions, not the usual 10 or
>> more) would have taken longer, for both making selections and
>> printing the paper recount record. Voters will be more familiar with
>> the machines then, somewhat balancing the increase in time. If the
>> expected voter turnout is more than 400 voters per polling place or
>> the ballot is longer, then I would expect that more than 5 voting
>> machines would be required per polling place.
>> While my precinct did not have hardware problems with the VeriVote
>> printers, I understand from my Field Inspector that some other
>> precincts did have hardware problem. I understand that a nearby
>> precinct had two faulty printers, one that jammed and one had a
>> flashing light with an undetermined error. I don't know the overall
>> hardware problem rate for the county.
>> --
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ---------
>> Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4507
>> tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
>> _______________________________________________
>> OVC-discuss mailing list
>OVC-discuss mailing list

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
OVC-discuss mailing list
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Received on Fri Jun 30 23:17:03 2006

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