RE: Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 09:02:53 CDT

My wife provided technical support for a printer company for years, and
based on her experiences, I wouldn't rely on the general public loading
printers correctly. Many office workers call for help when the copier needs
paper. :-)

I think that it'd be better to avoid the issue of paper handling on the way
into the printers, and pre-load the printers with a sufficient number of
pages to print a day's worth of ballots. I've heard "70 ballots per voting
station" quite a few times, which will certainly fit in a high end printer.
For really cheap printers, we might want poll workers to load the printers,
but since they can be trained to load the printer and print a test alignment
page, that isn't too much of a concern.

About scanning, my understanding is that we're proposing that ballots are
simple stored when the voter hands them in, and are scanned as a batch when
the polls close. Thus, the scanning would be performed by a trained poll
worker (and the software would reject bad scans, duplicate scans, etc.).

Personally, I like the idea of scanning the ballots immediately, in which
case I'd think that it's better to have the poll workers scan the ballots,
because voters are likely to have problems with which paper orientation is
correct. Also, is there any reason that we're talking about sheet feed
scanners instead of the (IMO) more obvious handheld scanners? It's a lot
easier and faster (and with fewer moving parts, I think) to wave a "laser"
scanner at a barcode than to feed a ballot correct through a sheet feed

- LP

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 12:29 AM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED

>Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 12:19:56 -0700
>From: "Alan Dechert" <>
>Subject: Re: [voting-project] Why PIN or smartcard is REQUIRED
>> I'd like to figure out a way to make Ellen's system work. It
>> is cheaper than smart cards and has other benefits too. ...
>Fine, Arthur. I also think it's worth looking at. However, large trials
>are needed to see how good/bad it is to have voters insert the paper. I
>predict big problems.

I don't know that I agree. Many jurisdictions today have
precinct-based scanner systems, where the voter has to insert their
ballot into the scanner. I haven't heard of problems with those.

Of course, the feed on those scanners is custom-designed by the
vendors. You're planning to use COTS printers, so Ellen's proposal has
to work with COTS sheet-feeders. At work we have Lexmark Optra S 1855
printers. They have a sheet-feed capability that seems fairly simple
to use. Of course, those printers are probably a lot more expensive
than your design point. I don't know what kind of sheet feeders are
available in inexpesive printers.

>A person with gout will have a tough time. Others with any of a number of
>disabilities will have trouble with it.

There are no privacy issues with assisting someone in inserting a blank
ballot into a printer, so I don't see this as an important factor.
Once the paper is there, they can still vote privately. Of more
concern is if someone will need help getting the paper into the privacy

On the other hand, no one expects a voting system to be accessible no
matter what the disability or set of disabilities. Some people are
going to require assistance no matter what. (For example, HAVA doesn't
require voting machines to be accessible to someone who is both vision-
AND hearing-impaired. Helen Keller would still require assistence to

>Even perfectly capable people will
>fail to insert the paper far enough--when they go to print, the printer
>won't grab the paper.

Presumably the printer will detect this as a "no paper" condition
and not attempt any printing.

>Some people will get it in a little crooked and their
>ballot will be mangled.

Then they declare it to be "spoiled" and try again.

>Pollworkers will spend a lot of time assisting people with this and the
>people being assisted will feel dumb and will be turned off by the system.

That's speculation.

>I'm not saying it's unworkable, but large scale human factors testing would
>be needed before using this live.

As will the entire EVM. But first, start with small-scale human
factors testing. Check out the single sheet-feed capability of various
COTS printers.


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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:48 2004

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