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When optical scan malfunctions go undetected or unreported or uncorrected...

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 10:28 AM
Original message
When optical scan malfunctions go undetected or unreported or uncorrected...
...the voters who attempted to have a vote counted on them have no recourse.

Just wanted to say that.

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bullimiami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 10:38 AM
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1. yes and when the errors are outside the moe for triggering a recount a paper trail doesnt matter
Edited on Tue Apr-21-09 10:39 AM by bullimiami
thats why every election needs to have paper trails and hand auditing to verify accuracy.

often these 'malfunctions' are deliberate.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 11:35 AM
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2. Ha! Voters have no recourse when the scanner errors ARE DETECTED!
Edited on Tue Apr-21-09 12:10 PM by Bill Bored
Scanner jockeys know full well that no one wants to do recounts, except for a few REALLY close elections in places like MN.

The reasons are really VERY SIMPLE: The apparent winners want to win; election officials want to TRUST software to count votes; and once the paper ballots leave the poll site, they are no longer suitable to be used as evidence unless they've been observed continuously.

The fact that some states may have liberal recount laws for elections with razor-thin margins doesn't buy us much. Such elections are rare and the recounts always leave the voters questioning the validity of the results, usually along party lines.

Sure there should have been a recount in FL in 2000 -- should have been. The punch cards should have been up to par too, but the vendor, Sequoia Voting Systems, is alleged to have decided that it was more important to sabotage that election to create demand for e-voting -- to create the Help America Vote Act.

But the reality is that neither election officials nor the courts seem to want to do recounts, except occasionally for a small number of ballots allegedly cast by dead voters or voters who didn't know how to mark them.

If there is a need for recounts, they should be done at specific polling places, on election night, after a discrepancy is identified in the electronic count or in ballot accounting. This of course means there have to be some election-night tests at the precinct, which have yet to be devised, to trigger recounts at the precinct level. And they have to be cheap and easy for poll workers and watchers to understand.

It might be easier to have continuous observation of the voted paper ballots until some humans get around to counting them sometime after the election. Oh, but that's audits and recounts, and no one wants to do them right -- almost forgot!

Of course, early and absentee voting need their own set of checks and balances, which also have yet to be devised. Scanning the ballots over and over again is not necessarily one of them, but it might help in some cases.

No simple answers to all this at this time, I'm afraid, but it shows why the lever voting system is the best one yet to be devised. If properly maintained, it provides accurate counts on election night without out a lot of work or specialized expertise. That's the best we can hope for until someone comes up with a "better" idea. And here's a flash for ya: if they do, it probably won't use paper as the ballot of record.

We'll see...
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-21-09 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R.nt
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-24-09 11:39 AM
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4. Now I doubt that many thinking Minnesotans are happy to have replaced their levers.
It's possible Franken would have been seated by now.

I've seen election integrity activists gush over the MN recount exclaiming that it ain't "too shabby", and "inspirational, even". :eyes:

I am mystified as to why.

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