Re: First draft of Stepping Stones

From: Ken Pugh <kpughmisc_at_pughkilleen_dot_com>
Date: Wed Dec 15 2004 - 18:27:00 CST

Ed,

I worked with a mark-sense system a number of years back. The technology
for scanning has dramatically improved since then. A scanner should easily
be able to determine a precinct number from a printed number on a card. It
would obviously have more difficulty with a hand-written number. (As a
comparison, I did some scanning and conversion of printed material using an
OCR program. The conversion errors were less than 1% and almost all of
those were of the 1/l or 0/O type. The font was small and the print was
not particularly sharp.)

It's not clear to me why a bar code is needed on the ballot. The ballot
that is printed could have black boxes next to selected candidates' names
should be easily scannable. A low-end scanner scans at 300 dpi. A 1/10"
box is 30 by 30 pixels. If the set of pixels contains a large majority of
pixels that have a strong color, then the box can be considered checked.

Using registration marks, the scanned image can be corrected for skew,
size, and exposure. Registration marks next to each race can be used for
further alignment, if necessary.

Ken

At 07:11 PM 12/13/2004, you wrote:

>Hello Doug:
>
>Actually I'm concerned about copyright which seems to go on just about
>forever. However, I guess we can assume for now that the general optical
>scan technology isn't patented. I would say that a full blown patent
>search should be put on the punch list prior to software release but not
>before.
>
>Thanks, Ed Kennedy
>
>--------------------------------------------------
>
>"Douglas W. Jones" <jones@cs.uiowa.edu> wrote:
>On Dec 13, 2004, at 4:45 PM, Edmund R. Kennedy wrote:
> > I notice that Diebold uses registration bars all around their ballots
> > which allows the user to put them in backwards and upside down from
> > what would be normal human reading direction. I guess that means that
> > Lindquist or his successors are willing to license the technology.
>I think the patents have expired. HP was using registration marks on
>their mark-sense card readers in the early 1970's. I tried to do a
>search for some of these patents and came up empty. Lindquist's name
>doesn't seem to be on his patents -- he merely hired the guy who did
>the actual inventing. Westinghouse Learning Corporation became the
>licensee, and ES&S can actually trace its ancestry back to a failed
>ballot tabulator developed at Westinghouse.
>Doug Jones
>jones@cs.uiowa.edu
>
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>
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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:15 2004

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