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New York's PCOS machines in Philippine automated elections: failure rates, error rates

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-10 02:25 AM
Original message
New York's PCOS machines in Philippine automated elections: failure rates, error rates
Edited on Fri Apr-16-10 02:29 AM by Bill Bored
New York's optical scanners are getting a workout, but not here in New York. First a 10% failure rate in Cuyahoga County, Ohio for the ES&S DS200s, and now Dominion scanners, referred to "Smartmatic" in the following blog, may also be failing in high numbers. Oh and what about the claim that Smartmatic (Sequoia) has nothing to do with New York's Dominion scanners? Both companies claim to have the Philipines contract, but New York likes to spin it a bit differently. Here, Smartmatic (Sequoia) is a silent partner! :wtf:

PCOS machines in Philippine automated elections: failure rates, error rates

According to the news, two of the twenty PCOS machines in Hongkong stopped working for a while. That is a 10% failure rate.

Cesar Flores of Smartmatic claims they expect a PCOS failure rate of 0.3- 0.5%. However, vendor claims must be taken with a grain of salt, more so if their goods were hurriedly made in China. The claim is also belied by Smartmatics own plans: they are deploying 8% of the total machines for backup. So, they must be expecting up to 8% of the machines to fail, which is more consistent with the failure rates in Hongkong.

The actual PCOS failure rate is, in fact, a big unknown.

First, it appears that Smartmatic had done most of the testing, not COMELEC. Due diligence requires COMELEC to do acceptance testing. Any buyer must double-check delivered goods before signing a receipt acknowledging that it was received in good working condition. Especially since the Smartmatic deliveries involved P7.2 billion of taxpayers money, the machines should have been independently tested if they meet COMELEC specifications as detailed in their contract. Those that didnt meet specs should have been returned for replacement. If deployed, these can cause trouble during election day itself, as they did in Hongkong.

The 0.3-0.5% PCOS failure rate that Smartmatic claims is not backed by properly-witnessed test stats and is contradicted by the 10% failure rate reported in Hongkong and Smartmatics own preparations to replace up to 8% of machines that may fail on election day.

Second, the test stats have remained inaccessible to third parties like political parties, election watchdogs and media.


At least five PCOS test results are so important that they should be publicly known:

* Mean time between failures (MTBF). This is the average time a PCOS machine stays operational. Knowing the MTBF and the mean time to repair (or replace), we can determine the average failure rate. Instead of actual statistics, we have today media-reported field anecdotes and unsubstantiated vendor claims.

* Average rejection rate of valid ballots. This is a specific but important case, when the PCOS stays operational but rejects a valid ballot. In Smartmatic demos, field tests and mock elections, the rejection rates were inordinately high, far above COMELEC specs.

* Scan error rate. Just as PCOS machines fail, they make mistakes too.


Smartmatic had earlier claimed it was testing 2,000 machines a day. Compare this to the three months it took COMELEC to thoroughly test some 1,900 automated counting machines in 2004. Even granting that the 2004 testing was done at a leisurely pace, the huge difference still makes one wonder how thorough the PCOS testing was.


Without the test statistics, we can only guess which is closer to the truth, the 10% failure rate shown by the machines in Hongkong, or the 0.3-0.5% failure rate claimed by Smartmatic.


This entry was written by Roberto Verzola, posted on April 15, 2010 at 6:07 am
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-10 03:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. So?
Doesn't the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines allow like, what? A 10% failure rate.

No. It's 9.2.

Abstract The Election Assistance Commissions Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) are developed by a Technical Guidelines Development Committee1 that includes participation by the International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) a 375,000-member non-profit professional organization whose code of ethics states that its members shall accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public. We show herein that the VVSG Reliability standard for e-voting systems, expressed as a Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of only 163 hours, is woefully inadequate, resulting in voting systems of lower reliability than mechanical lever voting machines in use for over 40 years. This standard allows 9.2% of all e-voting systems to fail in any 15-hour Election Day, and a much higher failure rate during the extended Early Voting periods now being implemented in many states.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-10 03:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Evil machines possessed by SATAN.
God loves levers.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-10 09:25 AM
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3. But at least we'll have paper ballots. (With no way to know if they're counted.) nt
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