Re: Not your ordinary barcode

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sun Apr 18 2004 - 17:18:44 CDT

At 3:09 PM -0400 4/18/04, Teresa Hommel wrote:
> > Some very smart people including Doug Jones have suggested that the barcode
>> also be human readable. I think it's a very bad idea. Most people will
>> have difficulty figuring out how to read the barcode and correlate that with
>> selections made. This involves extra steps and confusion for the voter.
>> It's unnecessary.
>Beware of forcing voters into dependency on "trust-me" technology (can't read
>the barcode? Trust us, it says the same thing as this small print
>where you can
>directly read your ballot choices) As a voter I would prefer that
>everything on
>my ballot be somehow readable to me, even if most other voters will
>not attempt
>to read the barcode.

You *can* read the barcode, just not unassisted. You have to put on
those 3-D glasses, I mean, you have to scan the bar code at a
verification station to hear or read your ballot. Such a station is
a separate computer not connected to the original computer.

However, it is important to note that privacy of the ballot is also
important. While you are walking around the polling place with the
ballot in the privacy folder, the bar code sticks out. If you can
interpret the bar code, so can bystanders and so can the poll workers
when they place your ballot in the ballot box (they have to do it to
help avoid ballot stuffing). So there is a definite downside to the
ability to interpret a bar code. And I think this downside outweighs
the problems of needing to use a computerized verification station.

>Alan Dechert wrote:
> > In the mean time, I find your argument unconvincing. It would
>help everyone
>> if newcomers would read what has already been said on this list regarding
>> the particular issue they want to discuss. This is a constant problem we've
>> had for many months. We had this problem when our archive had less than
>> 1,000 messages. Now it's more than 2,000 messages. We've always said that
>> it would be much easier once we have the FAQ in place. now the FAQ is there
>> but it's 26 pages. Now I have to say that a more complete and better
> > indexed FAQ will help newcomers.

Improving the FAQ will be a constant and noble task. Perhaps when I
add people to the mailing list, the new person should get a pointer
to the FAQ.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with new people on the list
posing their questions to the list, we need a mechanism for anyone
(including the general public) to ask questions and have the answers
added to the FAQ. Assuming that the OVC gets funding through the
HAVA contracts with the state universities, it might be a priority
for the OVC to hire a public information staffer familiar with
PR-related concepts and voting issues, so that we can handle the
barrage of inquiries we can expect. Note that this is not the same
as a PR person, who is to get our story out, but rather someone
specifically tasked to respond to inquiries.

Best regards,

Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:11 2004

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