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Re: Owen Dunn Printers and Ian's Soapbox on Print Shop Certification

Ian: I would welcome any chance to learn more about what is proper for ballot printing and what is not. I have made arrangements with the printing company doing the ballots for Jefferson Co. Ky.. I hope to have a better idea of the entire process after that. It seems the biggest problem is the desire to use "local" printers. Perhaps if Global at some stag is affiliated with a printing company it would help.
    I encountered the precinct number being printed above the line of timing marks in the Georgia accounts. They said they had been assured it was OK, that one of the older Ga. accounts had "always" done theirs that way. I did express a concern over doing it. The test ballots appeared to ron alright. The print was not solid but similar to a perf type line. I could not find out who assured them it was OK.
Thanks: Don
-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Piper <ian@gesn.com>
To: Larry Ensminger <larry@gesn.com>; Larry Dix <LJDGlobal@gesn.com>
Cc: Barry Herron <bhglobal@earthlink.net>; Bob Urosevich <bob@gesn.com>; Cathy Colgan <cacglobal@earthlink.net>; Don Vopalensky <dvglobal@earthlink.net>; Frank Kaplan <fkglobal@aol.com>; Howard Van Pelt <hvp@gesn.com>; John McLaurin <jmglobal@earthlink.net>; Larry Ensminger <larry@gesn.com>; Mark Langer <mlglobal@earthlink.net>; Mickey G. Martin <mmglobal@earthlink.net>; Robert Chen <rcglobal@earthlink.net>; Robert P <rpglobal@earthlink.net>; Sherry Rose <sarglobal@earthlink.net>; Steve Knecht <skglobal@earthlink.net>; Wes Krivanek <wkglobal@earthlink.net>; Support Team (E-mail) <support@gesn.com>
Date: Saturday, February 12, 2000 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: Owen Dunn Printers and Ian's Soapbox on Print Shop Certification

Ian's SoapBox
Circumstances like these (see Nel's e-mail below) are the primary reason why Global Election Systems, Inc. has to have a printer certification program that certifies actual people in a print shop.  This kind of garbage has got to stop.  There are ignorant people out there printing ballots for our machines claiming that someone in Global says it is alright to do it this way or that.  This ballot proofing is a waste of Global's time (because we never charge for it).  And when we find out about misprinted ballots after it is too late to reprint, Global usually takes some of the blame, or has to bend over backwards and compromise the system to make it work (again, we never charge for it).
My proposal has always been:
Train individual(s) from print shops, at the Global McKinney Training Center, for a fee which needs to be determined.  Those individual(s) must oversee the production of all ballots and proof the ballots.  If the individual(s) discontinue employment with that print shop, then that print shop must have other individual(s) trained (for additional fees) to take the previous individual(s) place, otherwise the print shop becomes de-certified by Global and is advertised to our customers as such.  No grandfathering allowed.  Current print shops would have to take the course along side new print shops in order to be certified by Global.  Currently no print shops are certified by Global, only recommended.  That means they can still make mistakes if they haven't been properly trained.
Print shops should sign an agreement and pay an annual fee for the privilege of printing ballots for Global customers.  In return for that payment and meeting our certification requirements, Global should aggressively advertise these print shops to our customers, on our website, with mailed hardcopy, and other means, to promote ballot printing business towards certified and paying print shops.  If they screw up enough times (once is enough for me), then they could be de-certified, or have to go through the re-certification process again, but definitely be held accountable for the cost of reprinting.  Ignorance is no excuse.
Whenever discussing ballot issues with customers (who have the where-with-all to call first and print second), I keep getting asked "when is Global going to adopt a certification program for print shops?".
It's long overdue.  I can help get it started by training individuals in Support (Training) and by helping to develop the program criteria,  but Support (Training) would have to take it from there.  As well, all of our own support people should take the course to get the big picture on ballot printing.
In regards to Nel's E-mail:
Coloured ballots
I will examine the ballots sent to me to see if they match to our specified Pantone background colors.
Precinct numbers
I will also examine the non-standard printing above the diagnostic marks to see if the ballots will calibrate correctly when fed head first.
Ballot verification
Own Dunn may be able to print the transparencies but do the tranparencies meet with our template specifications?  When will these people learn?  We sell approved transparencies out of Global McKinney because they each have been inspected to meet with our stricter tolerance for template tranparencies (ballot tolerances do not apply to templates).
Red ovals
The magenta ovals will be picked by some AccuVotes depending on a wide variety of conditions too numerous to list here.  Pure Magenta is not red.  It is actually seen by our visible light readers as marks.  Only Pantone Red 032U and Pantone Orange 130U is "invisible" and should be used for oval line printing.
If you read all of this, I thank you for your time.  Please direct your comments to the higher authorities in Global.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 10:29 PM
Subject: Owen Dunn Printers

The following is a synopsis of a conversation I had today with Lee Green at Owen Dunn Printers in Fayettville, NC, who prints ballots for  


·         Flagler County, FL

·         Alachua County, FL

·         Hernando County, FL

·         Lowndes County, GA

·         Oconee County, GA

·         Walton County, FL


Coloured ballots


Owen Dunn is printing coloured ballots for some or all of these counties as follows:  first ballot stock is printed with the appropriate colour in its entirety, then the colour-printed stock is printed with the ballot artwork.  Due to the technology he is using, it is apparently easier to place colour on a ballot in this manner, rather than by printing limited colour in a title bar area and print ballot artwork in a two-colour run.  As colour occurs on the entire ballot face and thus the control mark and voting oval areas, it has been necessary to restrict colours to a very pale blue (Republican) and very bright green (Non-Partisan) as stipulated in our Ballot Specifications Guide.


Beverly Hill of Alachua County is unhappy with this colour arrangement because a) she didn't like the colour and b) she only wanted the colour to appear in the (unrestricted) title area of the ballot. I am not sure what the sentiments of other counties are with respect to colour usage.  Before the main primary election, however, Owen Dunn will upgrade their printing equipment to be able to print at least two-coloured ballots in single runs.


Due to the fact that using coloured stock is so uncommon, I asked Lee to send myself and Ian Piper sample ballots to test even though in theory we support the pantone background colours.  Ian will perform tests using a colour densometer and I will perform volume tests (1000's) over several AccuVotes in order to ensure that no stray or unusual marks are detected.  Owen Dunn had only performed unvoted and fully voted ballot tests with these ballots, which is insufficient.


Ballot verification


I have recommended to Lee to use transparencies to check ballots, which come in 11”, 14” and 18” flavors, which will allow him to precisely determine the correctness of control mark, cut mark and voting oval positioning, which are critical components of ballot artwork.  Lee can apparently generate these transparencies himself.


Red ovals


Currently the red oval ballots required by Flagler and Citrus Counties are printed with magenta, which should in fact be 032 red (according to our specifications). 


Precinct numbers


Custom precinct numbers are being printed on ballots on stubs as well as on the ballot above the Diagnostic marks (this was confirmed by faxes of ballots sent to me of Alachua and Hernando Counties).  Apparently, our company recommended this as acceptable to Lee.  Printing above the Diagnostic marks is a problem for two reasons:

  1. the white level of the affected channels will be distorted to the point where underlying marked voting ovals may not be detected
  2. the proximity of the precinct number to the Diagnostic marks may interfere with the AccuVotes' ability to calibrate ballots

I told Lee to ensure that:

  1. precinct IDs were kept away from the Diagnostic marks as well as columns containing voting ovals
  2. ensure that in future precinct IDs are only printed inside the control mark area, in an unrestricted text zone on the ballot

If this was to be a problem (which I am sure it will not be), ballots would have to be fed foot first in order to not distort white levels.


Nel Finberg