The conducting of political elections – e.g. presidential elections – besides intelligent organizational concepts, requires highly reliable and certified technical equipment. When electoral law prescribes elections by means of ballots and absentee ballots, sometimes thousands, sometimes millions of ballots must be evaluated.
In order to avoid the high error rate and extreme costs of counting by hand, governments, administrative bodies and election organizers employ high-end and peak performance scanners, so-called "election scanners".
These election scanners process up to 200,000 balllots per day. The ballots – even including folded documents – are thereby checked for authenticity and plausibility, evaluated, sorted and archived as images.
The preparation of the images is effected using a CCD line camera and a powerful image processing board. Here in the image processing board the image is compressed and, if required, digitally signed. Initial data (e.g. barcodes, marks, etc.) can be extracted beforehand from the uncompressed raw data of the image. The compressed image is transmitted to the integrated PC. The latter’s counting and evaluation software registers and qualifies the marks and identifies ballots as correctly or incorrectly filled out and issues the corresponding disqualification commands. Any double document copies are detected by an ultrasound sensor, a document tracing system on the basis of light barriers detects jams, infeed disorders and full output trays.
In addition to marks, election scanners also recognize handwritten remarks (write-ins) and separate these out for individual inspection.