VotingWorks aims to shake up the voting equipment market by creating a new non-profit voting systems manufacturer with the mission of being the public works for voting systems. VotingWorks will do this by developing voting equipment that 1) embody the state-of-the-art in usability, security, design, and development; 2) are affordable to maximize any benefit to all sizes of election jurisdictions; 3) allow speedy, efficient voting processes; and, 4) that is extensible to the needs of all types of localities. And all of this will be developed in the open for the public good.
The need here is very real. Election officials often find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place when choosing a new voting system; there are often few expensive choices that come with serious limitations in how these systems can be used, modified, improved, and studied. CDT has advised localities in procurement decisions in the past and contributed to efforts where jurisdictions are designing their own voting systems – such as the Los Angeles County VSAP project – and the common factor in all these cases is the wide variety of needs and requirements that elections present, and how few systems can meet them all.
CDT will serve as a home for VotingWorks until it becomes its own non-profit entity. This partnership means VotingWorks is working closely with the CDT’s experienced team to rapidly ramp up operations and begin in earnest the development of affordable, secure, open-source voting machines for use in US public elections.
So, trepidatiously, I went off to vote. I imagined officious claims that I was trying to vote twice, ending in a provisional ballot. In the event, however, it was all a a happy anti-climax. The official called over someone to explain what to do, which involved punching some buttons, and voilà! I am issued a nice new giant ballot.
Apparently even if they had my by-mail ballot, they would allow me to vote in person as the system is programmed to erase the earlier ballot in that case. Which sort of makes me wonder how that works. As I understand it, the state releases the early vote totals pretty quickly after polls close. That leaves just two possibilities: either (1) they have my name attached to my ballot up until the polls close, and can pull it before they count it; or (2) they have my name attached to my vote even after an initial count, and can deduct my vote from the total before releasing it. Neither possibility suggests that ballot anonymity is preserved very well, does it? Although in case (1) I guess it could be anonymous once it’s counted.
I voted by mail this year, thinking that with such a long ballot the lines might be very long. I posted my ballot at the Post Office on Monday, well before the 1pm pickup scheduled for weekdays. As of this writing, the Miami-Dade elections officials have not received my ballot, at least according to the online lookup tool.
Does it really take five days to deliver a letter from the post office in Coral Gables to downtown Miami?
And, more worryingly, if by Tuesday afternoon, they still won’t admit to having my ballot, how do I cast a ballot that is likely to count? All I’ve been able to find so far is this, from the Florida division of elections:
If the voter decides to go to the polls to vote instead, the voter should bring the vote-by-mail ballot (whether it has been marked or not). Even if the voter comes to the polls without the vote-by-mail ballot, the voter will still be able to vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections’ office is able to confirm that it has not received the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot. However, if it is confirmed that the voter have already voted a vote-by-mail ballot, the voter cannot vote again at the polls. If the voter believes or insists that the supervisor of elections’ office is wrong about receiving the vote-by-mail ballot or if the supervisor of elections’ office cannot confirm that the voter has already voted an vote-by-mail ballot, the voter is allowed to vote a provisional ballot.
I guess I better block out some time for Tuesday afternoon.
PCEA Announces Public Meeting on Friday, June 28, 2013
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 — The Presidential Commission on Election Administration will convene a public meeting on June 28, 2013, in the Hurricane Room at the BankUnited Center, University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, beginning at 9:00 a.m. eastern time, ending no later than 5:00 p.m.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Mark Nejbauer
Designated Federal Officer
Presidential Commission on Election Administration
I wonder why they moved it?
Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but if anyone reading this is going, would you consider live Tweeting it? (Let us know your Twitter handle or hashtag in the comments.) Or if you prefer, send in periodic reports as comments below.