Re: Alternatives to a single bar code

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Wed May 05 2004 - 10:58:57 CDT

Hello Steve:

About the scanners. I like them but I would strongly
suggest that a document feeder be required. While I
use flat bed scanners all the time, I've often found
them quite fussy about paper placement. Also, it
would certainly make it easier for the disabled. The
scanner I generally use are kind of old and seem slow.
 Are newer scanners quicker? This could be a
usability issue.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy

--- Steve Chessin <> wrote:
> I must admit I haven't been able to follow all of
> the discussion as to
> how big the bar code must be. But I wonder if the
> following
> alternatives to a single bar code have been
> considered [note: I didn't
> find this addressed in the FAQ at
> and I couldn't easily find a link to the email
> archive there either]:
> A. Instead of a single bar code, a bar code is
> printed next to each
> human-readable choice on the printed ballot,
> encoding both the contest
> and the choice. The voter takes the ballot from the
> voting station
> printer and sticks it into the privacy folder. The
> voter then walks
> over to the ballot reader booth, closes the curtain
> behind them (the
> ballot reader is in a privacy booth, is it not?),
> removes the ballot
> from the folder, and places it on a scanner that
> scans the whole thing
> for them and reads back their choices. (A keypad
> would let them
> control the advancement to the next contest.) Then
> they put it back in
> the folder and drop it in the ballot box, or have it
> spoiled so they
> can vote again.
> It's also probably easier to place a piece of paper
> face-down on a
> scanner bed, especially if it has paper guides on
> two orthogonal sides,
> than it is to properly use a hand-held bar code
> scanner. If the voter
> places it wrong-side down, so that the scanner
> "sees" a blank sheet,
> the reader can easily tell the voter to "please turn
> the paper over and
> try again".
> (Cannon makes a $50 flat-bed scanner. At HP they
> start at $80.)
> B. Like (A), except that each bar code is a phonetic
> encoding of the
> respective choice, so that the ballot reader doesn't
> have to know
> anything about the ballot itself, and need not be
> reconfigured for
> every election.
> (There are about 40 phonemes, and most names are
> less than 10
> syllables, so that's less than 60 bits per bar
> code.)
> Since the bar code is phonetic, to make the ballot
> machine-countable,
> the human-readable portion is printed in a standard
> OCR font that is
> easily machine-readable. So the tally machine has
> to be configured for
> the election, but then it would have to be
> configured for the election
> anyway.
> C. Like (B), except that two phonetic bar codes are
> printed; one in English,
> and one in the language selected by the voter, in
> case it isn't English.
> The bar codes identify themselves as English or
> non-English, and the ballot
> reader has a switch on it to let the voter select
> which bar code they want
> to hear.
> The nice thing about multiple bar codes is that they
> scale. The more
> contests, the more bar codes. Multi-page ballots
> are easily dealt with,
> since the information for each page is
> self-contained.
> What's wrong with this approach?
> --Steve

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:14 2004

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