Re: Bar Codes

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Mon Apr 02 2007 - 13:44:48 CDT

I agree with Karl's comments, and I did not mean to imply that bar codes were the only means of accomplishing the objective. Ron's objection--the possibility that voters could retain a ballot ID number from their ballot and prove how they voted--is certainly valid. Any jurisdiction not publishing the original ballots, however, should not have that problem.

Certainly valid ballots could be watermarked; the real issue is the number of them and the accountability of them. The procedures used would have to be fairly tight to allow control of who signed for which ballots. The expense of watermarked ballot paper is also more than most counties would want to bear.

Ballot box stuffing (and its cousin, ballot box losing) is a very serious and known problem and has been so for a long time. Whatever means of control are devised, the authorities should conduct them under the scrutiny of poll watchers able to see what is happening--including the counts and the audits.

-- Dick

Karl Auerbach <karl@cavebear.com> wrote: Richard C. Johnson wrote:

> 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. ...

This can be done without bar codes by using watermarked papers, by
printing a human-readable number on the page, or by printing a picture
of some kind onto the ballot (with the picture, like the watermark, not
being chosen until the day of the election.)

(If ink-jet printers are used, it is also possible to use special inks.)

Procedurally, it is important that every piece of paper be accounted-for
- whether it is cast as a ballot, put into the spoiled bin, consumed by
a printer, or taken away by a voter. (When papers leave, the procedures
should case some change in the markings put onto the ballot.)

All of this is independent whether a bar code or direct-human-readable
markings are used.

  --karl--
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Received on Mon Apr 30 23:17:06 2007

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