Re: Notes #1 from KSG/NSF symposium

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 11:17:31 CDT

OCR fonts may not be needed at all. The problem of OCR scanning a
ballot is greatly simplified by the fact that the text on the ballot is
not general text but a selection from a small menu of possible choices
in a known format.

  in most cases one would not even need to resolve the font but merely
measure the length words in the text. Not that you would want to rely
on this exclusively, but one could even tweak the proportional spacing
to gaurentee line length produced a unique encoding.

of course actually implementing the above any OCR would be tricky and
require much more than a bar code scanner and might even be a tad slow.

Another desirable feature of a barcode scanner is that it is dumb. You
can deliberately starve the bar code of excess information content and
thus mitigate if not eliminate hypothetical collusion between the
voting machine and the scanning machine.

If one uses a true OCR font then if you are thinking about the ones
I've seen then printing small fonts becomes problematic. Maybe there
are more modern ones?

The advantage of relying on OCR is that as long as you are willing to
trust the OCR scanner, and it can be made fast enough, then perhaps one
could avoid the need for a separate verification station entirely.

On Jun 2, 2004, at 9:56 AM, Arthur Keller wrote:

> At 11:31 AM -0400 6/2/04, David Mertz wrote:
>> The organizers will publish notes soon, so I'll wait for that to
>> refresh my memories of names and sequence. In the meanwhile, two
>> brief comments occurred fairly frequently among people I spoke with:
>> (1) LOTS of people who generally like the design immediately have
>> doubts about the barcode, and recommend without prompting that OCR is
>> better for transparency to voters. Almost everyone, actually.
> It's one reason I've recommended that the entire ballot have use an
> OCR font *in addition to* the bar code. Unfortunately, that would
> take extra space.
>> (2) We REALLY need some kind of "announcement" or "state of OVC"
>> mailing list that is MUCH lower traffic than this one. Just about
>> everyone told me they'd like to follow the progress, but no one said
>> they wanted an extra thousand messages a month. A website that was
>> updated more regularly might serve this purpose somewhat, but not as
>> well as a "push" mailing list.
>> As I envision such a thing, we should send out notes no more than
>> once a day to the "summary" subscribers. I think it would be OK to
>> include someone describing the state of discussion on the main (and
>> developer) list. E.g. a sentence like "A long historical ballot from
>> NM was presented by Charlie Straus, Alan Dechert created a mockup of
>> how OVC systems might print such a race; and Chalie asked about the
>> information entropy of this ballot" would not be too much for someone
>> to read... they just wouldn't want the half dozen full posts.
>> Relevant external events should certainly be mentioned too.
>> So volunteers to run a "Daily OVC" mailing list. Such a list should
>> definitely *NOT* be open to just anyone posting to it. At most two
>> to three people should have posting permission... probably only one
>> person. Ideally, the person should be someone who is--well, not
>> me--but specifically, someone who would like to do more, but is not a
>> coder per se (whose time is useful for coding), and probably not
>> someone who is spending lots of time on lobbying and grant writing.
> I will create a moderated announcement list. I will ask those who
> already took themselves off the current lists if they want to be on
> it. It's also possible to have the list moderator separate from the
> message writer. This is useful to ensure that what is posted *is* the
> position of the OVC. I'd be happy to be the moderator, if someone
> else is the author. Thanks.
> Best regards,
> Arthur
> --
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> --------
> Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4507
> tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:01 2004

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