Candidates name trucated by font change

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Oct 24 2006 - 21:01:44 CDT

in the Ultra tight, come-from behind race, in virgina the Challenger's last name has been cut-off the elctronic ballot review screen. It reads
"James H. 'Jim' "
instead of
"James H. 'Jim' " Webb

That's right this is that sensationally tight senate contest between Webb and Allen.

The accident occurred when they increased the font size, which truncated all the longer names. Compounding this is that there's another candidate on the ballot froma different party called Jamed T. "Jim" on the review screen.

So we learn yet another way Computer voting can fail. Namely the serial multi-screen nature for Electronic voting makes it harder to validate than a full-face or paper-ballot layout. In this case, you can see why it was extra hard to validate. Unlike the Race questions on the ballot, the review screen is not a static page but instead is generated dynamically for every ballot. Thus you will not see every candidate on any given review screen but rather only the ones voted for during the test. Likewise the dynamic pages will vary with language selection, accessibility font-scaling, and ballot style and thus would have to be tested in all these permutations. It's also of course hard for testers to screen these kinds of errors since looking for omissions in a list is cognitively a harder task than looking for additions. This would be doubly hard in a Logic and Accuracy test, when the bleary eyed tester probably can't even recall what races he just voted for in the 1000t!
 h permutation.

This suggests that as a human interface guideline the OVC Review screens might want to be forced to use the exact same size font and text field size as in the race selection screen. That way if it's not cut off on the selection screen, it won't be cut off on the review screen. If it was desired to have a bigger font on the selection screen, one could imagine that the name on the selection screen might be written twice: once in the same size as the review screen and once in the large font. This would be easier for a tester to spot errors.

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Received on Tue Oct 31 23:17:06 2006

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