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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Edmonton municipal election

Edmonton held an election yesterday, October 18, using mark-sense readers (optically scanned ballots).

Here is what they say

Marking the Ballot

You will take the ballot into the voting booth, remove the ballot from the secrecy sleeve and mark the ballot beside the name of the candidates you wish to vote for.

...

After the Ballot is Marked

You will return the marked ballot, inside the secrecy sleeve, to the Ballot Box Clerk . The Ballot Box Clerk will insert the ballot into the voting machine without looking at it. It is very important that each person's vote remains secret.

If you choose too many candidates, the ballot will be returned by the voting machine and you will be given the option of either completing a new ballot or having the existing ballot accepted by the machine. Where votes have been cast for too many candidates, votes will not be counted. All other votes on the ballot will be accepted.

from www.edmonton.ca - Voting on Election Day

While optical mark-sense are among the least-worst electronic voting systems, since the original data is on the marked ballot, they are still worse than a paper ballot.

Why? Because the machine counts.
Any time the machine is counting, there are opportunities for error, either due to malfunction, incorrect programming, or malicious action.

As I reported earlier they also had audio-electronic touch screen machines at the advance polls.
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