Re: Consensus of the OVC

From: Karl Auerbach <karl_at_cavebear_dot_com>
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 12:48:11 CDT

On Wed, 26 May 2004, Alan Dechert wrote:

> If you think it's so easy to demonstrate that pagination is better, then it
> won't take much in study time to prove your point.

It's easy. Take a look at the "official ballot" document from a typical
general California election - including both local and proposition
summaries. Add to that the necessary formatting to separate the sections,
the space to allow shaky hands to hit the target hot spots. And add to
that the control buttons to complete the ballot or to reset it, and we've
got a complicated thing in tiny-type.

Sure we can study it. But I can guarantee that having a screen that can
handle such a everything one one screen is going to add mightily to the
cost of the system, not only initial cost, but also in terms of cost of
warehousing, shipping, and setup.

If this project is to succeed then it needs to focus on its core
proposition - the paper ballot - things like "everything on one screen"
are nice research topics for a later day.

We have an extremely narrow window of opportunity - once printing DRE's
are purchased our day is done and we become a "could have been"
technology. I doubt that any election official who, having risked his job
once by chosing DRE's with printers is going see enough value in paper
ballots to risk his job a second time; they won't perceive enough
incremental value.

I figure we have less than one year to produce a working prototype that's
good enough to be used in an election.

If we don't make that date then we can study to our hearts content - but
it will be a purely academic exercise.

It is time to set aside study for study's sake and focus on one goal - a
working certifiable system. We have seen that systems that display one
contest at a time have been certified. Why fight that when it gains us
nothing except delay and expense?

> For example, take a nomal sized ballot like we had in our demo: 13 contests.

Yes, I've seen it - it lacks things like the full paragraph proposition
descriptions that tend to make up a major part of the ballots in places
like California. It's also hard to read and use - the sweet spots are
small and hard to hit. (Due to RMS I'm one of those people who can not
hold a small object like a stylus for more than a few seconds, so I more
than merely intellectually comprehend the difficulty of touching those
small spots.)

                --karl--

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Received on Mon May 31 23:18:05 2004

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