Articles & Proceedings

Camera-Based Ballot Counter

George Nagy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Bryan Clifford, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Andrew Berg, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Glenn Saunders, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dan Lopresti, Lehigh University
Elisa Barney Smith, Boise State University


Portable ballot counters using camera technology and manual paper feed are potentially more reliable and less expensive than scanner based systems. We show that the spatial sampling rate, geometric linearity, point spread function, and photometric transfer function of off-the-shelf consumer cameras are acceptable for ballot imaging. However, scanner illumination is much more uniform than can be economically accomplished for variable size ballots. Therefore flat-field compensation must be designed into the image processing software. We illustrate the mechanical design of a prototype camera based ballot reader based on our comparative observations.