RE: Barcode Redux

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jun 14 2004 - 20:10:50 CDT

>Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 09:15:21 -0700
>From: Arthur Keller <>
>Subject: RE: [voting-project] Barcode Redux
>At 6:26 PM -0500 6/10/04, John Payson wrote:
>> >>
>>Then you have pre-printed ballot forms plus computer printed ballot
>>forms. This approach is complex and doesn't avoid ballot stuffing.
>>Existing elections use optical-scan ballots and find them acceptable.
>>Print-on-demand may or may not be practical, but it would be possible;
>>otherwise keeping an adequate supply of ballots for each race is practical
>>today and should remain so.
>Existing regulations within California allow people to vote on paper
>ballots instead of DRE's. There need to be enough of them in stock.
>They use absentee ballot forms in general. Those ballots are
>tabulated separately, and probably would be so by our system. One
>reason for the separate tabulation is that such ballots include
>provisional ballots, which have to be checked before tabulation. So
>all those are tabulated at county elections central in counties with
>DRE's such as Santa Clara County. Since you want to reconcile
>counts, those should be supplied in known quantities and not printed
>on demand.

Technically speaking, print-on-demand optical-scan ballots is not in
conflict with materials reconciliation, as long as the printer counts
how many it prints. You have a known quantity of blank ballot stock at
the start of the day. The machine counts how many ballots it prints.
At the end of the day there is some amount of blank ballot stock left
over. Count that, add it to the count of ballots printed, and it
should equal the count of ballot stock at the start of the day.

But it's just as easy (from a materials reconciliation standpoint) to
have pre-printed optical scan ballot stock in known quantities. The
advantage of print-on-demand (from the election officials point of
view) is that there is no danger of running out of ballots, and also no
wastage (from having to print enough to ensure that you don't run
out). (The wastage issue is multiplied when you have multiple
languages to support; print-on-demand allows the voter to get a ballot
in their language of choice, whereas pre-printed means the elections
official has to guess as to how many of each language they'll need.)

The disadvantage of print-on-demand (from the election officials point
of view) is that it requires a printer in every polling place,
something that they've resisted for a very long time. But with VVPAT
or OVC, that objection goes away.

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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:15 2004

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