Re: FAQ # 25

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Mon Dec 15 2003 - 17:45:19 CST

Doug,

> I agree, the bar code certainly goes in the prototype, but we don't
> need to write the FAQ as if we're ruling out the alternatives. We
> want to claim intellectual ownership, or at least, we want to claim
> the right to use a broad swath of competing technologies that include
> bar codes but are by no means limited to their use.
>
> Let's not let our FAQ answers box us in, and let's not give answers
> that lead others to dismiss what we're doing because it uses bar
> codes.
>
Of course, I agree.

At the same time, we should not let any dismissive remarks about barcode
inaccuracy go unchallenged. The scheme we have has several built-in checks
that make it very very unlikely barcode errors could pass undetected.

It might help if we could compute the odds of a barcode error (writing or
reading) could get through the ballot reconciliation procedure without
throwing an error. This must be one chance in a very very long number.

In our prototype system, the barcode error must still return a 40-digit
number. This is one chance in how many thousands (or millions)? Then that
erroneous number must still result in a valid ballot (i.e., no combinations
of ones where they can't be) -- one chance in some quintillions or more. So
you multiply those odds together. Then multiply by the chance that an error
in the voting machine xml file would happen to match the erroneous data in
the xml file from the barcode scan. This would be one chance in a number
that must wrap around the world several times. While "impossible" may not
be the applicable word, it's extremely unlikely to say the least that any
error in the barcode could pass through the ballot reconciliation process
undetected.

Alan D.
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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:13 2003

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