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Reply #48: Finally, something about Voting Systems! [View All]

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. Finally, something about Voting Systems!
Edited on Fri Aug-21-09 11:00 PM by Bill Bored
But what if the recorded machine results are contaminated (e.g. levers stuck at 99 or zero votes)? Are there any redundant paper ballots to prove it? What if the poll workers incorrectly transcribe the results?

If the machines were stuck on ANY number, you would see one very obvious problem: too many undervotes. 0.77% is not very many. That's the number from NY in 2004.

The problem with "redundant paper ballots" is that they are seldom counted after they are counted the first time. There were PLENTY of them in FL and OH. G. W. Bush was still declared the winner in 2 elections. Recounts were rigged in Ohio and they were stopped in FL. In NY, the law does not allow recounts, and election officials are now going out of their way to prevent recounts from happening when discrepancies are found in audits that are too small to find discrepancies in the first place! All this because they don't want to count paper after the election. Why? Because after the election the paper is not considered very reliable -- just somewhat more reliable than software.

Paper ballots also allow overvoting, which is one of the ways Gore lost thousands of votes in FL. All the redundancy in the world cannot recover overvotes. But levers prevent overvotes. An ounce of that is worth a pound of cure, esp. if there is no cure. We may very well lose more votes due to overvoting on paper than we do now due to stuck counters.

To answer your question, if the poll workers make a mistake, the campaigns will know about it 2 ways:
1. from their watchers who record the same numbers on election night on paper
2. from the 100% recanvass when the locked machines are double checked.

Wouldnt it be preferable to have the results posted at the precinct with the paper ballots secured in a lockbox?

The results ARE posted at the precincts. They are right there on the lever counters which anyone can observe and copy before the machines are moved. If paper ballots are used, those results should be posted on the wall. As far as lockboxes, the levers have them too. Individual keys to the counter compartment of each machine.

But Bill, I thought you were vehemently opposed to the use of any computer system?

I'm opposed to them for within-precinct tallies that aren't independently checked. Not necessarily for aggregation of those tallies, if the aggregation is done transparently. I think we agree on this point. But the election-night precinct tallies should not be produced by sofware if it can be avoided. One way of avoiding it with lever machines.

But what if there is a discrepancy to the initial count? How is it resolved? Representatives are invited but how many actually show up? Kerry won NY by 1.35 million recorded votes. Who was going to question it? They would be laughed at. And Karl Rove would laugh the loudest.

It would be questioned one lever machine at a time on 20,000 machines by thousands of representatives.

Representatives do show up. The 2 major parties run the elections, but there are also watchers from the campaigns. The machines can be inspected, tested, and retested. Once again, this boils down to: how many machines would it take to account for the exit poll discrepancy? Do you really think that many discrepancies would not be questioned? The machines would be opened and inspected and retested, but the sheer number of them required to explain your exit poll problem should be enough to rule out machine problems as the cause. So what's that number? You still haven't said it.
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