question about hand-held statistical devices in the field

From: Bev Harris <bev_at_blackboxvoting_dot_org>
Date: Thu Dec 20 2007 - 22:32:26 CST

What we know:
- Iowa caucuses will use a form of cell-phone central tabulation. The voting and
counting at the precinct are transparent procedures. When a result is reached
(both for Dem and Repub) the precinct captain then picks up a cell phone or
cell phone-like device and keys in the data.

- This data is automatically transferred, at least in the case of the Dems, to a
web-based reporting device.

When you think about it, this is actually just one big computerized uncertified
central tabulator using Blackberry-like devices that either run on or interface
with a special program.

I add "statistical capability" into the mix for the following reason:

I was researching whether the data might be going to NEP, the replacement entity
for VNS. I found a news item from 2004 saying the AP (which was working with
Edison Mitofsky on projecting results) was using "Votestream" or calling the
project "Votestream."

Now the question arises, were they using the PRODUCT called Votestream or were
they just coincidentally naming a project with the same name as a product?

You will find a product called Votestream at http://www.resolver.ca
Also at this site is a product called Resolver Ballot.

There are hand held devices deployed in the field into which the users key vote
or other survey information, which then interface with a PC to produce
sophisticated statistical data and results reporting.

Along these lines, I received a citizen report tonight from an election in
Tunica County, Mississippi. The Diebold tech was in attendance, and went behind
a podium, where they were interacting throughout the election with a
Blackberry-like hand held device, but apparently it did not seem to be exactly
a Blackberry, and they seemed to be entering numbers rather than typing text
messages.

My curiosity is up.

I then found another item, probably a red herring, a web site called
votestream.com. The IP for this Web site has been bouncing from place to place
every few months, routes through a dedicated server, with the most recent
location: Fairfield, Iowa. The site doesn't seem to have anything to do with
the product at Resolver.ca

This whole thing got me thinking, though. What might one be able to do if you
run a cell-phone-based central tabulator with statistical capabilities?

Bev Harris
Founder - Black Box Voting
http://www.blackboxvoting.org

* * * * *

Government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them. The
people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right
to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to
know. We insist on remaining informed so that we may retain control over the
instruments of government we have created.

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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:08 2007

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