Re: How LEGAL are DRE's in a hand recount?

From: Fred McLain <mclain_at_zipcon_dot_net>
Date: Sun Dec 05 2004 - 14:16:15 CST

FYI, since Snohomish is the county I live in I've a very strong interest
in this. I've placed a call this morning to attempt to locate
interested attorneys. Hopefully our local groups can fund a legal


On Sun, 2004-12-05 at 11:41 -0800, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:
> On Sun, 05 Dec 2004 10:56:52 -0800, Jim March <> wrote:
> > What Snohomish county is describing is a "paper regurgitation" of the
> > central vote tabulator records. That's not "recounting" anything,
> > that's a giant excercise in computer aided electoral masturbation.
> >
> > California law says you have to do a manual recount of 1% of the ballot
> > in ALL cases and broader hand recounts under specific conditions. What
> > Snohomish is doing is rank idiocy and plausibly does NOT meet the
> > standard in question.
> It is ridiculous... but you have to admit, it's all ambiguous.
> That is, "recounts" made sense when the process of counting actually
> involved recontextualizing a codified record of voter intent... which
> could cause numbers to change. That was the spirit in which most
> recount laws are written. However, with modern DREs, of course,
> "voter intent" has become a mysterious thing as the records DREs store
> are not verified by the voter as to matching their intent. So while
> they may actually be recounting something (they are adding numbers),
> it's not clear that this process will do a better job at counting the
> electronic records that the election management system did... and it's
> not as if we can summon that voter intent back.
> As Doug has pointed out in many fora, all that can be reasonably done
> with DREs is to verify chain of custody information and totals at
> various levels of the canvass. This will only catch fraud or error
> made after the casting of the vote.
> In a recent filing to the NRC/NAS Committee on Electronic Voting[1],
> one point we tried to stress is that, on election day, the intent of
> voters is intertwined with the election technology that they use.
> With paper-based systems (although it's not the paper that's
> necessary), often problems are recoverable... with DREs and lever
> machines they're usually not. We're arguing for auditability
> standards... that is a mandate from congress or the EAC that all
> election technology keeps something along the lines of a: indellible,
> independent voter-verified record of voter intent.
> [1] All papers are here:

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Received on Fri Dec 31 23:17:03 2004

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