Re: Printers Revisited

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 14:59:44 CDT

On May 23, 2004, at 3:36 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
> What do they do now when the power goes down at a polling place?

It would be very desirable--and not difficult to achieve with normal
UPS batteries--to allow a voter who is in the middle of voting to
complete her ballot, including both recording the EBI and printing the

Presumably, in a power-down situation, no voter should be allowed to
START voting on battery power. But the minute or two that might be
involved in completing the process can be covered by batteries. I
think that is pretty much true for either laser or inkjet printers...
but certainly inkjets are more power-friendly.

I know in border cases it could get more complicated: e.g. a voter who
prints a ballot on battery power, but then finds it needs to be
spoiled. But even then, the procedures are probably clearer, and more
error resistant, if we allow an attempted vote to go to completion.
The voter might have to wait for power to be restored before trying
again after a spoiled ballot, but that's the same as any voter who just
walked in.

> 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 good.

I seem to be the only person in this discussion who really doesn't have
an intuition/preference about the merits of inkjets vs. lasers for OVC
implementations. I've suggested a few observations on my concrete
experience with various printers, but I don't draw any particular
conclusion at this point (none of the arguments I've seen either way
have felt quite compelling, but all reasonable).

However, one more likely advantage for inkjets is physical form factor,
and the associated ergonomics. To put the components in a compact
space like a voting booth is likely to favor something of small
dimension and weight. Lasers have shrunk more than I would have
believed a decade ago, but still are many times larger and heavier than
smallish inkjets. As the other issues, I find this concern reasonable,
but not compelling in itself.

> 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.

I'm not saying we DO need color, but the colorblind thing is a strawman.

You can perfectly well design color schemes that are perceivable to
red/green colorblindness. The blue/yellow form is MANY times less
common. But even for rare types of colorblindness, a design would not
represent anything SOLELY by color, color would only aid in
distinguishing features.

For example, let's say you put a blue stripe on Democratic ballots,
with the word "Democratic" written lightly inside that stripe. If I
could not perceive the blue stripe (or distinguish it from red, etc), I
would simply need to pay more attention in verifying a ballot type; we
wouldn't encode votes as color-vision tests.

E.g., don't vote on Prop 29 with:


P.S. I copied the image from
<>. This site has a
cool tool that lets you look at both this test image and a photograph
in the way people with various types of color impairment would see
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:58 2004

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