We voted yesterday

California has touch screen voting now, at least in San Mateo County, where Sue and I voted on Saturday.

The machine prints a paper confirmation of your choices which you can compare to your electronic choices before confirming your vote. Sue, a CPA who has done numerous audits, says this auditable paper trail is how all electronic voting should work.

One odd feature. They give you a confirmation number that you enter into the machine so you can vote. Seems to me this number at some point gets linked to you, so is it possible to then determine how someone voted or is this process randomized?


  1. this may be off topic but if confirmed seems a very dangerous escalation along with the continuing attaks by US across the Pakistan border. Hardly the road to peace. I know you believe it will all change when Obama takes office but the here and now is still of the utmost importance.

  2. Good question. It wouldn’t be a perfect correlation, since it’s a 4-digit code and there are ~300K voters registered in SMC, but it’d be a good clue. My assumption is that the code isn’t in fact recorded, but how would one actually verify that?

    IIRC, the printed record also includes a bar code version of the vote, which of course can *not* be voter-verified. Hopefully nobody is planning on doing a recount with the bar codes.

  3. I would never trust an electronic machine based on PC hardware. They’ve shown even the ones with paper ballots can be altered to void your vote after you’ve left it and re-record one for an opposing candidate.

    The lever systems we have here in NY aren’t the best, but at least someone can’t alter the gearing systems they’re based on from inside the booth without the election monitors knowing that it happened.

    The Sequoia version is here:

    The Diebold version is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZws98jw67g

  4. I’m skeptical of the machines, but I’m willing to take the risk to gain some familiarity with the voting experience. On the whole, the Hart InterCivic eSlate strikes me as superior to touch-screen machines, and the paper record seems pretty good (assuming the voter actually checks it).

    The UI made some odd choices. You shouldn’t highlight a selection in red if the button to make the selection is green, for example. And I don’t think that the machine should automatically advance to the next page when you vote for the last item on the current page; I’d rather do that manually.

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