dumb scanners?

From: Jerry Lobdill <lobdillj_at_charter_dot_net>
Date: Tue Dec 05 2006 - 17:03:48 CST

Marc Baber has proposed a voting system at
www.marcbaber.com that has an interesting feature I've not seen
elsewhere. (I don't like several things about the total system, but
that's another story.) It proposes that COTS dumb scanners be used to
tally paper ballots. These "dumb" scanners can be had for as little
as about $55, and as much as about $2K. They are said to be
"unprogrammable", but they can detect colored-in circles at certain
x-y positions and output a file that tallies multiple ballots for
these x-y positions. The scanners do not know what candidate or race
is represented by the x-y positions but it produces the tallies for
all races and issues on the ballot without need for any ballot
definition programming. At the end of election day the election
administration publishes an XML file that correlates x-y positions
with candidates and issues.

Not being a hardware person I can't evaluate this proposal. My
inclination is to doubt that such COTS systems exist. Seems to me
that numbers and dimensions of the circles and their locations on the
ballot would not necessarily be constant from election from election,
and what sort of COTS firmware could handle all this?

Would some of you hardware folks educate me on this?

Thanks,

Jerry Lobdill

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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:06 2006

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