Re: What the voting experts think of barcodes

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 20:33:22 CDT

> At 3:05 PM -0400 6/2/04, David Mertz wrote:
>> Btw. I think the above helps explain why I myself have been somewhat
>> reluctant to move from 1-D to 2-D barcodes. Someone like Karl
>> Auerbach or Arthur Keller love the idea of having plenty of breathing
>> room for extra information: more contests, cryptographic codes, etc.
>> Karl helped design the internet, which is now suffering a squeeze on
>> available IP addresses. But I *LIKE* the idea of a barcode that
>> simply doesn't have the ROOM to encode anything extraneous.

On Jun 2, 2004, at 8:37 PM, Arthur Keller wrote:
> How long is the barcode for the superlong ballot with the many
> contests. What happens if IRV or other ranked preference voting
> scheme is adopted? How about digital signature(s)? How will you
> encode write-in votes and report them on the BVA?

I am convinced by Steve's and Charlie's presentations of historical
"superlong" ballots that Code128 will not, in fact, have enough data
space to encode all ballots. It was not clear to me until I saw
pointers to those actual elections, since Code128 is big enough for
-most- elections. If you need more space for the contests themselves,
the issue of exactly what cryptographic codes you use doesn't even have
a chance to enter the judgment.

However, I believe--I think in agreement with Arthur--that if we need
2-D sometimes, we might as well standardize on PDF417 or something
similar for all ballots. Something with good support in free software
and in hardware. Reliability and integrity seem comparable with 1-D
codes.

However, after the symposium and the reactions I got, and after Laird's
confirming remarks, I'm feeling less fond of having to explain why
there are barcodes on ballots. Remember the "voter centric" motto than
Alan promotes (even though he doesn't think it points to the
no-barcode-brigade conclusion :-)).
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:03 2004

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