RE: What the voting experts think of barcodes

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 14:20:14 CDT

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-voting-project_at_afterburner_dot_sonic_dot_net
[]On Behalf Of David
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] What the voting experts think of barcodes

On Jun 2, 2004, at 2:35 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
>> If [experts] 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.

I admit it could go either way on experts vs. average voters.

A certain number of average voters won't give it any thought at all
(assuming barcodes are used). They'll just unconsciously think, "My
food has barcodes, my mail has barcodes, so what if they're on a

Pretty much everyone I've showed the system to has asked about the barcodes.
I think that they jump out because everything else about OVC is fully
transparent (source code, paper ballots, etc.), and that's very appealing to
people, so the opaque barcodes jump out as inconsistent. That's not to say
that there aren't good reasons for using a barcode, but it's worth noting
that it's the _only_ aspect of OVC's system that requires an significant
level of justification -- everything else is "of course it should work that
So my instinct is to push on the justifications for the barcode and make
sure that there isn't a more transparent way to solve it.
For example, if the issue is privacy of votes while they're scanned, are
there materials that are opaque to the human eye, but can be scanned
through? I'm thinking along the lines of the "black plastic" that
Playstation CD's are pressed in, which looks black, but the laser can read
through it just fine. Yes, it's a bit odd, and might make it tricky to
source the folders and scanners, but it'd solve the problem neatly. You put
the ballot into the 'privacy folder' and scan right through the folder.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:02 2004

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