Re: Notes #1 from KSG/NSF symposium

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 12:34:52 CDT


> I got back last night from the symposium at Harvard, which I think went
> very well... I presented OVC's goals and design to many people ....
> (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.
I'm not ready to cave in to the "no barcodes" brigade. Most of these people
haven't really looked at how the barcode would work with our system, and how
the integrity of the barcode would be cross-checked. The barcode allows the
voter to verify the vote without removing the ballot from the privacy
folder. If a blind person has to remove the ballot from the privacy folder
to put it in some OCR reader, this will be a big problem.

Before we would give up the barcode, we'd have to see how the alternative
(OCR, presumably) would work at the pollsite. If it could be made just as
convenient, quick, reliable, and inexpensive as the barcode that's fine.
Part of a full funded study could set up mock pollsites and have people try

Our Nevada Team (with Lou Montulli, Sergiu Dascalu, Yaakov Varol, et al) is
working on an OCR system to work with an experimental type of VVPAT with the
Sequoia system. With some UNR students, they have already gotten off to a
good start. They will approach the NV Secretary of State to fund the work
with HAVA money. I think Lou would like to see OCR replace the barcode too,
but I don't see it as either/or. I think OCR could be used in conjunction
with the barcode.

> (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.
I agree. This is one thing I've said I'd like to do (and several people
have said they'd like to be on that list instead of voting-project). It's
on a long list of things I want to do but lack time/energy/resources to do.

> 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. ....
Probably one person in charge of sending it out with some people assisting.

> 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.
Right--someone we can count on and that has a good grasp of the OVC idea.
The announcements need not be "daily," literally. Certainly, any time the
OVC is mentioned in the news we'd want some announcement about that (this
*could* become daily, in the fall maybe).

Alan D.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:02 2004

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