TRIAD Governmental Systems, Inc.
Accessible Ballot Marking Tool (ABMT)
Make / Model: TRIAD Governmental Systems, Inc. Accessible Ballot Marking Tool (ABMT)
Equipment Type: Remote Ballot Marking System
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Triad GSI’s Accessible Ballot Marking Tool (ABMT) is a client-side remote ballot marking system. In 2020, the system was available to Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voters and voters with disabilities in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Voters access the Accessible Ballot Marking Tool (ABMT) via a link emailed to them from their county board of elections. A county can also email an HTML file to an eligible voter. The voter opens the HTML file or follows the link in their preferred browser and can disconnect from internet to mark their ballot. If needed, a voter can use their assistive technology. Voters receive overvote warnings while marking their selections.
When a voter is done voting, they reviews their ballot choices and receive errors for undervotes. The voter can change selections and, when satisfied, prints their final ballot, which includes a QR code with their selections encoded. In Ohio, the only state where the ABMT is currently used, voters include their voted ballot and completed and signed Statement of Voter in a return envelope. The voter can use the Return Envelope mailed to them by the county board of elections or can provide their own envelope.
The voter either includes their Ohio driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of their Social Security Number (SSN) on their Statement of Voter, or includes a copy of a current and valid photo identification, a military ID, or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections), that shows their name and address in the return envelope (or the envelope provided by the voter) separate from the Identification Envelope. The voter then seals the envelope containing their ballot, completed and signed Statement of Voter, and, if appropriate, separate ID document. The voter then mails this to their county board of elections or drops it off.
Unreadable Bar Codes and QR Codes
In their Security Analysis of the Democracy Live Online Voting System, Michael A. Specter and J. Alex Halderman, who did not review the ABMT system, note that an attacker could “encode false votes within barcodes, so that the ballot appears (to a human) to be marked for the voter’s selected candidate but will be counted by an optical scanner as a vote for a different candidate.” Bar codes and QR codes are not readable by humans and, as Specter and Halderman point out, a summary ballot could appear to the voter to be the same selections the voter made; however, when remade onto scannable ballot stock, the bar code or QR code could transpose the voter’s actual selections for those of the hacker’s choice.
Triad GSI was founded by the Rapp family and produced the Butterfly Ballot used in the 2000 election.