Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Would you like to test the Voting Machine Software Today?

If you live in the City of Waukesha, I have a difficult favor to ask. 

Before you mark your ballot today in City of Waukesha could you first attempt to cast the ballot into the machine without any marks on it at all?  Completely clean. There is a high price to pay though because if the machine accepts this perfectly unmarked ballot, then you will have cast no vote in this election ; no vote for governor, no vote for AG, no vote for anyone.

This is a difficult thing ask of a voter from the city of Waukesha. 

From some of my past work, I am confident the optech insight scanners used in the City of Waukesha (actually all jurisdictions) have a software defect that will allows a completely blank ballot to be accepted by the Insight Scanner.  A blank ballot will feed into the front slot, the ballot number on the front will increase by one, and the ballot will be transferred to the secure ballot box beneath.

Today, I am going to stand outside a polling place in the City of Waukesha and see if a voter there will attempt to cast a blank ballot into the machine on my behalf despite the possibility that there will be no vote cast.  But a backup would helpful.

I am focused on City of Waukesha because I know Clerk Kozlik specifically checks for this during her pre-election testing. The voting machine software in test mode produced a printed report regarding the perfectly blank ballot she presented to it. That output from the scanner was a report on the tape that essentially stated:
“Had this been a real election this ballot would have been rejected.”
This is one difference between test mode and election mode that I know of in the exists within the software for this scanner.

If the blank, unmarked ballot is rejected by the scanner because it is under voted, then you can mark it as you please and cast the ballot into the machine for processing.   No harm. No foul.

If you accept this proposition though, then could you let me please know what happened to the blank ballot:
  • accepted or rejected?
  • Which polling location?
  • What time of day?
  You can leave test result on the blank as a comment to this blog post.

If your perfectly blank ballot was accepted by the machine, then I will collect a certified copy of the blank ballot from the city clerk, all of the testing records and use the materials to write an academic paper on this software defect.


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