Ted Selker's guest blog: Arlington Massachusetts voting; comparing the November 2004 and November 2006 elections

by Ted Selker (MIT)

During the presidential primary in 2004 a poll worker took the filled out
ballot from my hands to check it (eliminating secrecy in how I voted). I
asked them why they were doing this and they said that they had been told
to turn off the optical scan machine’s over-vote detector so they wanted
to make sure that I hadn’t voted for two candidates. Turning off the over
vote detector eliminates the optical scan system’s approach to second
chance voting. The machine would place such a ballot with two candidates
chosen for president in the bin to be hand read later stopping the voter
from knowing that they should refill out their ballot. I sent the
Secretary of state a complaint note, the over vote detection was turned on
in the next election.

I asked a person at a table on a stage what they were doing. “I am
checking absentee ballots.” I asked have you found any problems today,
they said, I found one and erased it (No one should be in a position to
change another’s ballot at any time during voting).

This year I voted during early voting November 6, and it went smoothly.
While I was there, a man asked to get a ballot to deliver to his son and
bring back by 4PM. His son was a student at Northeastern University, the
poll worker relented and gave the man a ballot hopefully for his son to
fill out (Absentee ballots are thought to be the largest focus of fraud in
this country).