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Friday, October 01, 2004

greater sudbury arrows point the way


Q. Why has Council authorized the use of Optical Scanning Vote Tabulators?

A. Council directed the City Clerk to review alternative voting methods for the 2003 Municipal Election. The City of Greater Sudbury was perhaps the last city its size in Ontario that had continued the use of a paper ballot. As a result of this review, Council authorized the use of optical scan vote tabulators for the November 10, 2003 municipal elections.

While still allowing the voter to mark their choice of candidate on a paper ballot, automated vote counting equipment offers several benefits to both voters and the municipality, some of which include:

* accuracy of vote tabulation
* consistency in vote tabulation
* rejection of overloaded and/or improperly marked ballots at the time of voting, therefore reducing voter disenfranchisement
* quick tabulation of individual voting place results following the close of the voting (results will be sent by modem from each location).
* the requirement for few voting locations and the need to hire smaller number of election staff.

Q. Are there safeguards in the Vote Tally System to Guard Against Fraud?

A. The procedures put in place by Council require the Returning Officer to conduct computer logic and accuracy tests before, during and after the vote on election night.

Prior to the advance vote, the Returning Officer and the Third Party Auditing Firm hired by the City of Greater Sudbury will attend the acceptance testing of the vote tabulation system, which will include:

* reviewing a sample of pre-audited test ballots prepared by the City of Greater Sudbury's equipment vendor;
* reviewing the reports prepared by the vote tabulation system once the preaudited test ballots have been entered into the system; and,
* comparing the results listed on the reports to the sample of pre-audited ballots and identifying any discrepancies.

On election night the City of Greater Sudbury's Third Party Auditing Firm will select at random seven vote tabulators - one for each of the six Wards plus one machine from the advance vote - to:

* compare the election results as listed on the reports prepared by the selected machines to the election results recorded at the City of Greater Sudbury's central election site and report on any discrepancies; and,
* compare the report produced by the selected machines following a re-entry of the votes cast to the original printout obtained at the time of the closing of the polls and report on any discrepancies.

Other security measures to ensure the integrity of the voting process and the security of the vote tabulation equipment and software have been provided by the Returning Officer and the City of Greater Sudbury's equipment vendor.

elections.city.greatersudbury.on.ca - It's as easy as 1-2-3-Vote

So if I understand this, they compare the results from the machine against... new results from the machine. Or they compare the results from the machine with the results transmitted by the machine. Does anyone compare the machine results against a manual ballot count?
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