Re: Printers Revisited

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 17:24:59 CDT

On May 23, 2004, at 6:03 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
> I think lasers are small enough and light enough that this is not a
> major
> concern in the voting booth.

Replacing a printer that goes bad makes weight and size something of a
concern. A 20 pound laser is still significantly harder to install
(perhaps into a restricted space too) than is a 5 pound inkjet. But
such replacements will certainly be infrequent.

>> But even for rare types of colorblindness, a design would not
>> represent anything SOLELY by color, color would only aid in
>> distinguishing features.
> That might be nice, but at what cost? If we get a fresh b/w toner (at
> 30
> bucks or so) AND a fresh color toner (at 30 bucks or so), it could
> lead to a
> cost per ballot of nearly a dollar just for ink!

I'm much less interested in the cost of ink/toner than I am in the
benefits. Even on costs, however, you seem to suppose a particular
model that is different from that recommended by Karl and Arthur.
Alan's idea seems to be that you need brand new ink cartridges to use
inkjets, but you can reuse laser toner cartridges between elections (or
other uses). It's not clear that's the right contrast. For example,
if you require a brand new $90 toner cartridge at the start of every
election... well, that's more money.

The potential benefits of color come with reduction of human errors, I
think. For example, if party ballots are color coded, it might occur
significantly less often that ballots are sorted into the wrong piles.
  Or perhaps the wrong ballot stock would be handed to voters less
often. Likewise, potentially, if color elements were used to direct
the eye of voters, they might be more likely to accurately verify
ballots.

I don't know that any of these suggestions are actually true. Maybe
words and monochrome rules do just as well for the above goals. But if
color *did* empirically reduce human errors, by either elections
workers or voters, it would certainly be worth paying a few extra cents
per ballot to have. That is, of course, unless some other disadvantage
associated with color (i.e. inkjet) printers increased errors by a
larger amount.
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:58 2004

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