Possible use of Python for a voting machine demo project --your feedback requested

Paul Rubin http
Mon Jul 21 20:57:47 CEST 2003

"Alan Dechert" <adechert at earthlink.net> writes:
> We'll see.  The touch screen we intend to use works well with a stylus.  So
> if we get too many mistakes using fingers, we may just have people using a
> stylus exclusively.

Try to avoid that.  Use a real big screen if needed (Wacom makes some
nice ones).

> I'll take this as a prediction, not necessarily correct, however.  Our team
> includes some people with extensive experience with voting machine
> evaluation -- they think it will work.  But again, we won't know for sure
> until we try.  But beyond that, most voting machine PCs we are proposing to
> use will be mouse driven.  So even if it proves to be too dense for a stylus
> (very unlikely, imo) it is certainly not too dense for a mouse. Virtually
> all of the testers using the web based version will be using a mouse.

I think a production system shouldn't use mice.

> On the other hand, a lot of people really really like the touch screens.  We
> can't make them all mouse driven since a percentage of the voters will have
> a big problem with that.  But there is no reason to give up on mouse driven
> systems just because some people can't use them.  Mice are very cheap and
> most people are used to them. 

What do you mean by "most people are used to them"?  Do you really
mean "most computer users are used to them"?  I remember hearing that
most (i.e. more than half) of the people in the world have never even
made a phone call, much less used a computer.  How that maps onto US
voters, I don't know.

I hope you will do user testing with people from all backgrounds and
social strata.  Go to some senior citizen centers; get a few street
people ("will work for food") to try out the system; etc.

> > Anyway, I wish you luck -- we certainly need open voting systems.  The
> > current closed systems scare me.
> >
> I appreciate your taking the time to write.

Do you talk anywhere about auditibility, i.e. how does anyone verify
that your published source code is the same code actually running on
the machines?

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