Re: Printers Revisited

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 01:40:29 CDT

At 9:04 PM -0700 5/22/04, Cory Hamma wrote:
>I agree with you in principle. The counties will need to make a
>choice on which hardware to buy, and it doesn't make sense to lock
>them down to one printer or one manufacturer. It is pretty obvious
>to me that inkjets are completely out of the picture, for reasons of
>small ink cartridges, potentially poor print quality, and the paper
>exiting the printer printed-side-up. Plus, what county would want
>the huge expense of ink cartridges and the likelihood that the
>printers won't work for the next election after being stored for a
>year. Laser printer prices have come down very close to the price
>of inkjets, plus they are more economical for day-to-day use. Some
>small counties might even choose to rip printers out of their
>offices and try to use them.
>I believe lasers are the obvious choice. HP PCL is a good print
>protocol to start with, as many printers support the protocol, and
>there is adequate support in linux. Therefore, it seems like we
>should go about it by providing the following information in a web
>accessible printer list or database:
>1. Provide requirements for resolution (DPI), printable page area,
>and speed (PPM and warm-up).
>2. Provide suggestions for paper stock to use.
>3. Provide reports of smudged printing (immediately upon paper
>exiting the printer) so ballots won't get smudged.
>4. Provide paper-output information (face-up/face-towards or
>3. Provide suggestions for current printers which meet 1, 2, 3 and 4
>This will allow the counties who NEED card stock for whatever reason
>to pick printers appropriately, and counties who just want good
>quality paper (24+ lb) can pick whichever printer meets their
>financial needs.
>The list can start out small and grow as time goes on. I am sure
>this will be in the format of user submissions of test results from
>various people who help with the project, as well as county employee
>test results as the project gets underway. I volunteer to start a
>web page version of this list (which can expand into a database as
>time goes by) if we can agree on the printer details to be recorded.

A few more things to think about in the inkjet vs. laser question:

1. Is color useful? For example, would a color border be useful to
document ballot types (e.g., for primaries) for a scheme like Steve
Chessin suggested? Color inkjets are cheap, color laser printers are

2. Should the printer cartridges be brand new for each use? Inkjet
cartridges are cheaper than laser ones (although there are more of
them). And a single (set of) inkjet cartridge(s) have more than
enough ink for one day's election. Toner cartridges are overkill, so
there would be more waste, and a temptation to reuse them resulting
in greater risk.

3. The choices of hardware/software is constrained by those
combinations that are certified.

Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:58 2004

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