Re: Dan Tokaji's remarks about ACR 242

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Thu Aug 12 2004 - 10:50:53 CDT

"Alan Dechert" <alan@openvotingconsortium.org> wrote:
|Dan is an ACLU lawyer--now Ohio State law professor--that has been pretty
|influential in the voting modernization debate. He just posted some nice
|remarks about the OVC on his blog.

It's good to get a mention; but it doesn't look like Dan "gets it"
overall. Scrolling down a few items in his blog, I found:

  In the 2000 presidential election, the DREs used in precinct had a
  0.6% uncounted vote rate [in Franklin OH]. By contrast, the punch
  card system used by absentees had a 3.6% residual vote rate.

  The bottom line: If you want to increase the chance of your vote not
  being counted, then vote absentee.

Someone who still talks about residual vote rate this way is missing 95%
of the picture. Partially because "residual vote" conflates undervotes
and overvotes, which are very different things. But much more so, of
course, because the most significant errors/tampering in DREs won't show
up in residual votes at all.

It's extremely easy to imagine--or program--a DRE machine that would
have a ZERO PERCENT residual vote. Just force it to be so during in the
machine closing code!

Or even without an end-of-day modification, a flawed DRE can record
exactly one vote for each vote--it just happens to record a vote
different from the one the voter wanted. E.g. no matter which onscreen
button a voter presses, the DRE records exactly one vote for the
Communist Presidential candidate. By Tokaji's criteria, the machine
will have a very low (even 0%) residual vote rate, so every vote is
"COUNTED"! It just happens that 99.5% of voters have their vote counted
for a candidate they don't want!

The kind of error I describe might happen even happen by simple
programming but, not even necessarily because of hacking. Any C
programmers here ever write a 'switch' and forget a 'break'? ^-|

If you look farther, Tokaji promotes the same dangerous misunderstanding
in many comments. E.g. take a look at his fawning quotes from the
Georgia SoS' report.

I wonder if Tokaji is educable.

Yours, David...

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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:09 2004

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