Re: question about hand-held statistical devices in the field

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Fri Dec 21 2007 - 09:24:32 CST

On Dec 20, 2007, at 11:44 PM, Bev Harris wrote:

> Rick, I think you're missing a point.
>
> The detail results are not necessarily released in the caucuses.

Speaking as a regular attendee at the Iowa Democratic Caucuses,
they are. Not only the final delegate counts, but also the first
and second breakdown of attendees are announced to the caucus, and
once the delegate counts are determined, the caucus has to actually
elect those delegates.

Finally, at the end, the total official report from the caucus is
read to the caucus (who was elected to what, and representing what
preference group if applicable), and the caucus is asked to ratify
the report.

The cellphone report has no official stature, it's entirely for the
press. As such, hacking it would probably not be considered an
election-related crime, no more than hacking an exit poll. The
official reports are transmitted in a brown paper envelope to the
county central committee, where the delegate mailing lists are
assembled in order to get things set up for the county party
conventions. Generally, several people at the caucus take personal
notes, and there has been occasion when these notes were requested
by the county party because one of the official forms was in bad
shape.

> Who is on the other end of it? Each political party has a
> significant incentive to manipulate results. How do caucus goers
> know that the votes transmitted were properly tabulated?

We don't know. We hope that the news media has some integrity,
but as with all unofficial election reporting, it's outside the
system.

                Doug Jones
                jones@cs.uiowa.edu

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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:08 2007

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