Re: Bar Codes

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Mon Apr 02 2007 - 11:48:25 CDT


There is yet another reason for simple bar codes on ballots, and that is to allow a machine readable check on the legitimacy of the ballot itself. Ballot box stuffing, the sport of dictators and corrupt officials for hundreds of years, is foiled by generating a set of witnessed random generation of identity numbers (NOT serial numbers) to appear on legitimate ballots. The number is printed below the bar code and is unique to the ballot. Only one ballot should ever be presented which matches such an identity number and no ballot should ever be presented for count having a number not from the set originally generated for the official ballots.

This is an option for the Open Voting Solutions system, offered because it helps to prevent ballot box stuffing. Otherwise, should a number of duplicated ballots be present, who among the ordinary human hand counters would know a counterfeit (stuffed) ballot?

Any state, such as California, wishing not to use the option can simply leave the number and bar code off the ballot. There is then, of course, no control on the provenance of any of the ballots counted.

We put numbers on paper currency in addition to printing "In God We Trust" on them. Only sequential numbered ballots have ever been suspected of fostering election misbehavior. That is why we recommend using unique numbers on ballots, as long as the numbers are random and are used to prevent ballot box stuffing. The numbers also allow a complete auditing of all ballots printed, including the requirement that unused ballots and destroyed ballots be returned, witnessed, and audited.

Note: we do not use the bar code to contain or relate to any information at all about either (1) the identity of the voter or (2) the vote results. Our scanner reads and the computer synthesizes speech solely from the actual marks on the ballot. The bar code/number is used solely to check legitimacy of the ballot.

-- Dick

Michelle Gabriel <> wrote: FYI - there was a lot of confusion about bar codes in CA in the Nov election. It appears that the SoS told different things to different RoVs. In San Joaquin he said no bar codes on VVPATS. In Alameda Cty and San Mateo - either they didn't ask or he said it was ok - because they had them.
 Bottom line is - ballots are not allowed to have unique markings in CA. A barcode is considered a unique marking. Now we get to the point again - is the VVPAT the ballot or not?
 I think barcodes are a bad idea for elections. Great for efficiency, terrible for transparency.
 Doug Kellner wrote:
  Bar Codes I do not understand how bar codes on the voter verifiable paper audit trail can expedite the manual audit. The auditor would still need to verify that the bar code accurately reflects the voterís choice of candidates. Can anyone explain what I am overlooking?
 Douglas A. Kellner
 New York State Board of Elections
 Tel. (212) 889-2121
 Fax (212) 684-6224
From: Ed Kennedy <>
   Reply-To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list <>
   Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2007 15:54:14 -0700
   To: <>, 'Open Voting Consortium discussion list' <>
   Subject: [OVC-discuss] FW: New Bar Codes Can Talk With Your Cellphone
 E-Mail This
   Hello All:
             I thought this might be of general interest as our proposal includes a bar code similar to whatís shown in the article. I was able down load the Qode program to my cell phone and got it to work. Warning, this may require a no-cost registration with the NY Times.
   Edmund R. Kennedy, PE
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    Bar code issues.
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  New Bar Codes Can Talk With Your Cellphone <;en=b31e08bdd1d092eb&amp;ei=5070&amp;emc=eta1>
  Software will let phones read encoded data on everyday objects to call up videos, pictures or text from the Internet.
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Received on Mon Apr 30 23:17:06 2007

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