Re: dumb scanners?

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Dec 05 2006 - 18:27:25 CST

Another issue would be overvote protection. The scanner would have to know something about the structure of the races to do that, not just xy positions. Likewise, reports of simple totals by XY posiiton would not suffice for Ranked Choice voting.

the equipment might also be like that used for SAT test card scoring.

I note that many older DRE machines, like the Danher/Shoutronics, actually are "dumb" in an analogus way. They don't actually know anything about who you voted for. It just knows that a certain button being pressed causes a specific memory location to be incremented. They actually "program" these things using graph paper to layout the assignements--there's no high-level markup language for "ballot description". The candidates names and parties only appear on the printed surface of machine and not in the memory. Raw output is just totals by memory location.

I would assume that the Opscans in use today are internally almost the same. Just incrmenting pre-assigned memory locations without knowledge of candidate names.

the trickiness in the opscans is the assinment of these by ballot style and the overvote protection, which requires some additional logic in the ballot definition.

-----Original Message-----
>From: Jerry Lobdill <>
>Sent: Dec 5, 2006 6:03 PM
>To: Open Voting Consortium List <>
>Subject: [OVC-discuss] dumb scanners?
>Marc Baber has proposed a voting system at
> 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?
>Jerry Lobdill
>OVC-discuss mailing list

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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:06 2006

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