Friends: I need to offer a written explanation
of the reason this "soft-boot" occurred (see client comments after
Ken's). Since this resulted in a
voter's vote not being cast and we have no feasible way of knowing which voter
this was, my client has requested a letter of explanation. Can I have a "technical layman"'s
explanation of this event?
Comments From Ken Clark 2002-10-28 16:29
RCR#2196 Improve critical error recovery from
[There is really
no hope of reproducing this.
Instead of listing as a bug, I am making a venue change to
RCR/enhancement with a different
The worst part about this is that the
voter walked away without having their vote counted. We have to prevent this at all
Lets assume the analysis below is
accurate (it sounds pretty plausible).
Here are a few concrete improvements to the software that could
We should write a Ďtokení to
nonvolatile storage (flash) when we accept a voter card. When the voter casts their ballot, we
delete the token. At power up,
the software checks for the token and knows we crashed (for whatever reason)
during voting if one is there.
Then we could log the event more accurately. We could also force poll worker
intervention when the unit comes back up, so humans are aware of the problem
at the point that it happens.
At power up, right now we just
unilaterally eject an inserted card without fanfare and without even reading
it. This isnít good enough. We should read the card, log that
there was a card in the machine at boot, and log the details of the card. Then we should pop up an error message
and require poll worker intervention.
Ideally we would include some audio clues
that a poll worker could hear as well, but alas the current internal speaker
isnít up to the task.
If we had something like the above, then
at least the poll workers would have known about the problem and could have
issued the voter a new card and asked him/her to vote
November 5, 2002
Advance Voting-Johnson County, Kansas
Here is the
A voter inserted their voter card in a
touchscreen. Somehow the voter
was ejected without the cast ballot being
pushed...immediately after the
machine audit tape indicates that the
machine was rebooted - however, the
machine was never turned off and on. The Supervising Judge (SJ) has the
and has instructions to not turn the
machines off if there is a reported
problem. They know to just close the lid and
call our office.
location has had several of the problem
machines this time and the SJ has
been following those
Our internal brainstorming leads us to
this conclusion. Because of
voter receipt and the date and time stamp
in ESM (voter registration system)
for the computerized voter checking we
are able to determine which voter experienced this problem.
It is an elderly voter - we telephoned
the voter to do a "voter satisfaction
survey" - they loved the system and
placed their voter card in the plastic
container and received their "I Voted"
sticker on the way out. This
us to believe that the voter's ballot
appeared on the screen - the precinct
was validated to the voter receipt by the
machine judge and the voter
receipt was placed in the brown envelope
for that voting machine.
during voting, the machine did an
internal reboot and ejected the voter card
to the voter. The voter is elderly and simply took
the card and placed it
in the container and left. The machine log indicates that the
vote was not
cast and that the machine was turned back
on. The SJ did not open
swinging door and turn the machine off
and on. I am concerned about this
can you check with your software folks
and get an answer for us.
appears to be something like a soft
reboot happening within the machine
which triggers the voter card to eject
just like physically turning the
machine off and on or pushing the Cast
Ballot button. As you will
we had several instances in August where
the machine ejected the voter card
after the voter voted for just one
candidate. We understand that
problem was also reported by other
jurisdictions in their September
We need your assistance to problem solve