Re: Barcode Redux

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 16:05:35 CDT

OCR pro:
machine readable ballots.
voter can with his eyes verify the information that will be read by the scanner.

OCR con:

Hideous design issue concerning paper jams( and fatal to project if not resolved)

Garden variety systems are very slow (both at the user level and the sheet fed level.)

Garden variety systems have huge error rate ( probably fairy easy to fix with post processing, redundant info)

potential for stenography is high yet we may not care

Bar codes pro:

Machine readable.
non-contact or accurate paper handleing or alignment required (no paper jams!)
In theory easily validated by external auditors.
ballot can be kept in a privacy envelop if need be yet have bar code accessbile.

election judges can actually do the scanning at a desk rather than having to have a clumsy scanner, etc...
(this also means that discrepancies have the opportunity to be noticed, two different election judges can examine the same event, and many observer eyes can be on the whole process--all very comforting)

Bar code con:
voter validation of barcode requies extra step (not onerous but add complication)
irrational technophobia about mysterious barcodes.

charlie strauss wrote:
>> techically an OCR system leaves the door open to steganograhy and
>> hence the real possibility personal info could be encoded.

David Mertz replied
>Adding a barcode doesn't prevent steganography in the watermark (nor in
microspaces between words, etc).

No, but if the only machine that reads ballots is a bar code reader, the reality of accessing things embedded in the text portion is essential nil. I Think people would be more worried at that point that the touch screen terminal is memorizing their vote not the printed ballot. And yeah I could think of ways of hiding inapparent information in a bar code too.

The point was simply that controlling this worry is better handled by a bar code.

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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:06 2004

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