Re: What the voting experts think of barcodes

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 13:35:06 CDT

David,

> I am not part of such a "no barcode brigade." I am merely reporting a
> surprisingly uniform reaction to a description of the demo/reference
> system.
>
I know. I'm just restating the position.

> If these people distrust
> a barcode they cannot read without special equipment, such skepticism
> is likely to be even more widespread among typical voters.
>
What evidence is there for that? This is an interesting conjecture, but
should be investigated with surveys and such.

> > 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.
>
> I don't believe this at all. Blind people can very easily insert a
> sheet of paper into a sheet-fed scanner, or onto a flatbed scanner.
> Privacy of doing so can be maintained with a curtain.
>
Not as easily as having the barcode scanned while still in the folder. I've
said the OCR *might* be workable but we'd have to set up trials and see.
OCR might be slower, more expensive, and more cumbersome for voters and
election administrators. As always, there are tradeoffs to be looked at.

> I can recognize issues with cost, reliability, and points of code
> failure, of OCR vs. barcodes (barcodes doing better on each). But
> proposing that blind voters cannot operate a scanner is stricto sensu a
> "strawman argument."
>
Speaking of strawman.... I didn't say blind voters cannot operate a scanner.
I think it's more of a challenge for blind voters. It's more likely one of
them will drop the ballot or something like that. If one blind voter in 100
drops his ballot on the floor trying to insert it into the scanner, would
that be acceptable? Maybe not. It might be that if one in 1000 drops his
ballot on the floor it would be a scandal. I don't really know but I'm not
willing to say they will manage just as well until I see it.

Alan D.

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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:02 2004

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