[EM] IRV proponents figure out how to make IRV precinct-summable

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Wed Mar 18 09:53:54 PDT 2009

Raph Frank > Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 3:20 PM
> Well, as the software improves, this would be less of a 
> problem. 

I'm afraid you have misunderstood (or maybe I didn't explain it clearly).  It is not a software issue  -  it is a compliance issue.
No matter what software you use to "read" the images, the Returning Officers will always have to decide the level of compliance for
automatic acceptance.  Many more ballot paper images could be processed completely automatically if the compliance level were
reduced, even a little.  But such is the distrust of "black boxes" that the ROs in Scotland asked for the compliance levels to be
set quite high.  Hence the "symbol correction" queue.  The "adjudication queue" is quite separate and will always exist.

> Also, I think one of the issues in Scotland was poor 
> ballot design which overloaded the ballot. 

There's lots I could write about this, but I don't have time right now.  The real problem was with the MMP elections.  The large
processing queues and delays resulted from the need for adjudication on anything that did not conform, including a ballot sheet with
only one vote recorded on it instead of the expected two.

If you want to know more about this, see:		
  Rejected Ballot Papers in the Scottish Elections 2007	

> A better layout 
> might have been two separate ballots for each person, so it 
> is obvious that they are separate.

Separate ballot papers were used for the two MMP votes in the elections in 1999 and 2003.  The combined ballot sheet (following New
Zealand) was introduced in 2007 to address some very large problems in voter understanding of how MMP really works.  For more on
that, see the report of the Arbuthnott Commission:	 

> Abd's proposal is that lots of people would take images of 
> the ballots and each ballot would have an ID number added 
> (after it is taken out of the ballot box) for easy reference.

All ballot papers in the UK have a unique number printed on the back.  For electronic processing, they also have a unique barcode on
the back that goes with the scanned image.  The system is designed, both paper and electronic, so that no-one can see, at the same
time, both the face and reverse of a ballot paper or an image of a ballot paper.  You need a Court Order for authority to look at
both the face and reverse of the ballot papers, and that will be granted only in cases where there is good evidence for fraud to be

James Gilmour

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