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

Alan Dechert adechert at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 21 03:03:59 CEST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Meyer" <ta-meyer at ihug.co.nz>
To: "'Alan Dechert'" <adechert at earthlink.net>; <python-list at python.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2003 5:18 PM
Subject: RE: Possible use of Python for a voting machine demo project --
your feedback requested

> > > > 3) When "WRITE-IN CANDIDATE" is selected, a large widow
> > > > (maybe the full screen) will pop up with a QWERTY keyboard
> > > >  in the upper half.  This keyboard
> > > > will have only three rows with the alpha keys (no punctuation or
> > > > numbers needed except for perhaps the hyphen... no shift, all CAPS).
> > >
> > > No apostrophe?  What if I want to vote for "O'Reilly"
> > >
> > As a matter of fact, we won't let you vote for O'Reilly.  On
> > second thought, you're right, I guess.  Okay we'll have an
> > apostrophe available.  Anything else?
> What about non-English names?  Names with umlauts, accents, Asian
> characters, and so on?
Good question.  Eventually, our on-screen keyboard would enable the voter to
choose accented characters.  I'm thinking there would be an "ACCENTED
CHARACTER" button that you'd select such that when you select "E" on the
keyboard after pushing the button you'd get a drop down list of accented Es
from which you could select the desired one.  I'm not sure if we'll
implement that in the demo (probably not, actually).

Probably, Asian characters will only be available if and when the voter has
chosen the Asian language at the outset (as it is, the non-English languages
available varies from county to county and state to state... it may even
vary from city-to-city within counties.  Many, if not most, jurisdictions
only offer English language ballots).  Then, the keyboard would behave the
way Asian language keyboards normally behave.  For the demo, I think we will
have at most one other language (probably Spanish) to select.

When the printout of choices is given when a non-English language has been
selected, I think the English equivalent will be printed along with the
translation.  When it comes to write-in votes, we probably won't be able to
do that.  This only becomes an issue where enough write-in votes are
recorded such that it could affect the outcome.  Right now, election law
varies a great deal on how to deal with write-ins.  In some cases (e.g.,
Florida) write-ins have to meet some sort of qualifications (no. of
signatures) before they can be written in.  Again, this is something to look
at in some depth when our full blown voting study is underway.

Alan Dechert

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