Paper Ballots vs. Photcopying

One of my main concerns these days is the algorithms for scanning paper ballots. In other words, given a paper ballot, some kind of image capture (i.e. a scanner), what is the ‘best’ way to analyze them and determine the ‘voters’ intent?’

Two key terms in that description, ‘best’ and ‘voters’ intent’. I will be writing several more posts in the coming days to explore those two questions, as well as describe what we’ve learned so far about how to approach the problem technically.

In the meanwhile, to get your mind in the right frame, check out Paper Ballots, Photocopiers, and Security(from Bo Lipari – Essays and Images:

“When I heard that New York City had found that a photocopy of a ballot could be successfully scanned by both of the two systems being used in New York State, my first thought was that this is Sun-Rises-in-the-East news. It didn’t surprise me, and the first line of defense against attacks involving any type of fake ballot, photocopied or printed, is well designed and implemented ballot management security procedures. But this is a complex issue which bears some discussion.” (from: Paper Ballots, Photocopiers, and Security)

It’s a very interesting article that presents a detailed threat analysis of the question of photocopied ballots. Food for thought.

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