Re: More on barcodes, etc

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun Apr 17 2005 - 22:24:16 CDT

I want to thank Alan for his excellent summary of the barcode/OCR
issues. Most of what he writes has been discussed in bits and pieces
on this list[*], but Alan puts it all nicely in one place.

[*] I apologize for the current archive down time--I'm trying to get it
straightened out with the volunteered hosting service.

In fact, I think this description is definitely nice enough to add to
the FAQ, or put elsewhere as a semi-permanent document on the OVC
website.

Basically, I do not disagree with Alan that there are pros and cons of
barcodes vs. OCR scans of ballots. In fact, I do not disagree that any
of his pros are pros, or that any of his cons are cons. I might weight
them slightly differently overall (with a slight tilt on my part to
disfavor barcodes). But ultimately, voter perceptions and usability
needs to be surveyed and studied to say anything definite.

One thing I definitely agree with Alan on is that computer SHOULD be
involved in the verification and tabulation process. Not solely
computers--human eyeballs need to do spot checks and the like--but
there's absolutely no reason not to take advantage of things computers
can do efficiently, like scanning sheets of paper (whatever the exact
style of scanner, and whatever exact features of the page it looks at).

Btw. We could very well run a mock election where both OCR and barcode
stations were present simultaneously. OCR fonts really are quite
readable--take a look at OCR-B samples on the web, for example--so a
ballot can be printed with both scannable features. In a mock
election, we could let some (sighted or blind) users run the OCR
verification station, and others run the barcode verification station.
Even randomly assigned per voter, since both would vocalize the same
ballot. And ask some followup questions about the verification
experiences afterwards.

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Received on Sat Apr 30 23:17:09 2005

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