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Re: Manually typeset ballots

New topic.  VTS, as I understand it, allows printers to create ballot artwork using templates and then enter the candidate oval positions manually.  Correct and expand on this if I have missed any nuances.
VTS does not allow candidate oval positions to be 'entered' manually.  What it does allow is, in the BallotEditor, to move candidates to any unused voting location on the ballot.  This feature has been used a many times, ranging from the rediculus, as in Venasuala, to the reasonable they want question responses vertically verses horisonally placed on the ballot or they screwed up candidate order and/or rotation.  Some of these adjusements that were required in VTS are no longer required in GEMS since it provides a better method of doing ballot layout and more options than VTS did.
GEMS doesn't have any facilities for this currently.  The two obvious questions are
  1. Do we want to support this?
This would be a nice feature to have since it would allow us to tell customers who have weird layouts that they can manually lay the ballots out, BUT I would not suggest doing it until we get some very solid demand from the support and or sales group 
The major 'problem' with this is that GEMS stores the layout for the 'base' rotation and then rotates the candidates through the set of positions defined for the race.  Therefor 'special' rotation fixes cannot be done using this.  Also GEMS, as does VTS, assumes the races are rectangular and that the candidates are all contained within the race rectangle therfore it would be more common to have races overlapping one another with all the inheirent weired printing problems (race boxes being drawn overtop of other races, text overtop of text etc).
    2. If yes, then how, specifically?
If we were to implement this I would suggest allowing the candidates to be moved within the race rectangle.
The place where this has come up is Connecticut and New York, which seem to have a very curious way of laying out ballots.  They lay out the races in a grid, with parties labeled down the left column, races labeled across the top, and candidates in the grid positions.  This was possible to do in VTS manually but is not possible in GEMS.  Worse, I really have no idea how such a layout can be automated (but I digress).  They also throw in referendum questions that don't follow the grid rule in the example I am looking at.
Anyway, let me open the floor on this one since I don't really know the details of how this has worked in the past with VTS.  I have a feeling that this is not going to interact well with GEMS' demand based (ie not batch oriented) ballot artwork generation.
The manual adjustment is done on already layed out ballots. If those ballots get automatically layed out again (due to some change causing the ballot to be set as not layed out) then they are layed out using the normal method and all manual changes would be lost.