RE: Not your ordinary barcode

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Wed Apr 21 2004 - 19:18:40 CDT

Yes, the OCR in firmware is for a small number of pre-defined fonts (OCR-A,
OCR-B, etc.). But, as you point out, that's sufficient for scanning ballots
when we control the output. The OCR fonts are very well defined and
supported (so that they're interoperable between banks, vendors, etc.),
though a little funny looking.

Of course, there are still some privacy issues, particularly for seeing
impared users, but perhaps that's a reasonable tradeoff for increased
transparency in the system. Quite a few people seem to 'bump into' the
barcode vs. OCR issue when we explain the OVC system...

- LP

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-voting-project@afterburner.sonic.net
[mailto:owner-voting-project@afterburner.sonic.net]On Behalf Of David
Mertz
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 8:06 PM
To: voting-project@lists.sonic.net
Subject: Re: [voting-project] Not your ordinary barcode

On Apr 21, 2004, at 7:01 PM, Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) wrote:
> I believe that these days OCR is implemented in the readers' firmware,
> so that it looks like text to the computer.

I'm sure no fully-general OCR is implemented in scanner firmware. As
in, the sort of program where you can put any old magazine or book on
top of a scanner, and get a formatted RTF or PDF file with the pixels
converted to letters.

However, for the limited character sets that Doug mentions (though I
seem to have missed his original post), it's more likely. For example,
while I don't know any details for sure, I imagine the scanners at
banks that read that funny font across the bottom of checks (routing
and account number stuff) could well be implemented in firmware.

I agree with Doug that if OVC decides to scan whole pages and eliminate
the Code128 barcode, we both can and should restrict the voter choices
to being printed in something like that bankcode font. If that code is
an open specification and existing reader libraries are out there, we
might choose that very font--I certainly would rather not invent our
own font and OCR library.

Yours, David...

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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:15 2004

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