Re: Printers Revisited

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 14:36:05 CDT

Karl,

> One major reason is that they don't overload UPS's. ....
>
As Far As I Can See, this is the only reason favoring inkjets you give that
means much. We plan to have a battery powered mobile voting station too,
and that will--due to power requirements--almost certainly dictate an inkjet
(or non-laser in any case) printer for that. However, the issue of securing
power at the poll site is non-trivial. It may be irrelevant that an inkjet
could work better during a power outage. What do they do now when the power
goes down at a polling place? I believe that in most cases they stop the
whole process. If the lights go out, they are going to wait until the
lights come back on. UPS may be important, then again it may not be very
important. The thing our system could not tolerate would be paper ballot
cast that has no matching electronic record. This is not a danger in a
power failure situation since the electronic record (EBI) would be written
to non-volatile memory *before* the printed ballot comes out. So, if the
power goes out a second or two after a voter presses "Print My Ballot" it
doesn't impact the ballot reconciliation process. There would be an EBI
with no corresponding paper ballot. We don't care about that. If the power
goes out and a voter is in the process of making selections and printing the
ballot, they would have to start again when the power comes back on. This
is an inconvenience but would happen rarely (full study should develop
statistics on this). It's also possible that our system could be built to
recognize the power outage and--using a log file--restore the system to the
state it was in at the point of the power failure. This way, the voter
would not have to start from scratch. On the other hand, this could raise
privacy issues since the voter may leave the voting booth in a power outage.
All of this needs study.

I don't see any claims about inkjet v laser involving issues of speed, print
quality, paper handling, toner cost, reliability etc., making inkjets look g
ood. It seems to me that inkjets are significantly worse in these areas.
Someone (Steve Chessin maybe) suggested something about color but that has
never been a part of the architecture. IMO, the number of colorblind people
is large enough to preclude color being an integral part of the ballot
design.

Initial cost for inkjets is lower, but may be entail a higher overall
printing cost over a period of years.
......

> That tends to suggest that specific printers will have to be designated.
>
I agree. Initially, the number of printers certified for use will probably
be small. Over time, the number will increase. We should be able to develop
a checklist with the ITA so that a specific printer can be certified for use
with our voting booth set up without extensive testing by the ITA. There is
no need to belabor the inkjet v. laser issue because there will certainly be
both lasers and inkjets on the list of certified printers. It will be up to
the customer to decide which printer to buy. In case the rental model is
used, the customer may not know or care which printer is used. The vendor
guarantees that there will be a printer in the voting booth and that it will
print the ballot on the specified paper in no more than x seconds and that
it meets specifications a, b, c, and so on.

Alan D.

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:58 2004

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