Re: FAQ # 8

From: Paul Kostick Jr. <pk_at_c-techsys_dot_net>
Date: Wed Dec 10 2003 - 14:11:06 CST

Keep It Simple Sienfeld
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan Dechert" <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: [voting-project] FAQ # 8

> Charlie,
> > This definition has a slight problem. ...
> >
> Maybe. But if I didn't know anything about a DRE and I read what you have
> on this, I would be even more confused.
> When you are talking about the world of voting technology, you are talking
> about an industry where only a few years ago was mainly about punch cards
> and levers. It's a bit like interrupting a class in auto shop and handing
> them stacks of manuals on rocket building and saying, "okay, now let's
> some rockets instead." The students would be confused for a while and
> of them would never get it. If the class is going to be successful in
> building rockets, they'll probably need some different people involved
> altogether -- with different tools, technology, and terminology.
> We should not reinforce incorrect or non-standard or idiosyncratic
> terminology. Optical scan machines are not DREs. This reminds me of a
> story Henry Brady told me when they were cleaning up the data for his
> Counting All The Votes paper (something you should read, btw). They
> one registrar somewhere in the hinterlands to confirm that they used paper
> ballots as the data showed. The registrar said, "yeah, we use paper
> ballots. We mark the paper then run them through an optical scan
> [when researchers say "paper ballots" they mean ballots that are hand
> on paper and hand counted]
> >
> >
> Before I say more, I am reminded of a conversation I had with David
> Jefferson recently. He expressed concern over the fact that some people
> that are in 99.999 percent agreement are clogging the process arguing over
> details that don't really need to be hammered out at this point.
> The basic ideas you promote, such as the voter-verified paper ballot, open
> source software for voting machines, multiple redundant cross checks, etc.
> indicate we are 99.999 percent in agreement. But some of your stuff needs
> some adjustment. For example, "The only solution is to have the voter
> verified ballots be the only legally re-countable source. Possibly laws
> could state that the electronic totals would be used as a primary count,
> the paper used in any re-count." This is bad. This puts the paper at
> for intentional destruction. With the OVC system, when the electronic
> record of the vote is transmitted from the precinct, it's only after the
> electronic record has been verified against the paper ballots. I would
> recommend that in case the paper ballots from a precinct get destroyed
> somewhere along the line (malice or accident), the electronic precinct
> report could be used in a recount. If we say it *could be used* this
> removes some of the temptation to intentionally destroy paper ballots.
> You have some good ideas but you have some ways to go before you really
> understand the voting system conundrum. Still you have already helped a
> great deal and you can make a big difference in the future. In general,
> should pay more attention to what some of the real experts have to say and
> don't worry too much about what some of the clerks say. The clerks are
> the auto shop teachers trying to learn rocket science. Yes, rockets have
> "motors" too. But those motors are different than the ones in the cars.
> Fortunately, the OVC project has on board most of the top voting system
> experts. Read Roy Saltman, Henry Brady, Doug Jones, and David Jefferson.
> Arnie Urken is another known expert and has testified as an expert witness
> in contested elections.
> I am a newcomer in the election technology world but my work speaks for
> itself. David Dill is also a newcomer whose work speaks for itself.
> all the Caltech/MIT people are newcomers, although Ansolabehere studied
> of this before 2000 (Ansolabehere was a student of Henry Brady when Henry
> taught at Harvard, btw).
> Mercuri and Neumann are in the 99.999 percent agreement category but just
> can't get over the .001 percent level of disagreement. In any case, they
> lack the technology transfer mechanism of the OVC. Avi Rubin is one of
> top experts too but he may be a little too close to -- a
> for-profit promoting some proprietary technology.
> --Alan D.

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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:08 2003

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