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

From: Bev Harris <bev_at_blackboxvoting_dot_org>
Date: Fri Dec 21 2007 - 10:55:49 CST

> Speaking as a regular attendee at the Iowa Democratic Caucuses,
> they are.

That is not in contention. At the caucus (precinct) the results are released.
The issue is when the corresponding results are released that support the
aggregate.

> The cellphone report has no official stature, it's entirely for the
> press.

Are you saying it goes to a media office? There is apparently a letter from
Senator Grassley indicating that the cell phone report went directly to VNS in
1996. I certainly disagree that hacking these results would not be relevant.

> 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.

And, as you know, the delegate allocations at the county party conventions
almost never match the original precinct results because the conventions are
held after candidates drop out, and votes are re-allocated (and these are not
binding anyway). This year, that will be especially true, for two reasons:

1) The Super Tuesday event is much bigger, many more states, and earlier -- it
is more than a month before the Iowa conventions and there will be a large
amount of re-allocation of the original votes.

2) There are more candidates in the field, for both parties, and there will be
more changes than normal when it gets to county convention because the slates
will no longer match at all.

Therefore, the county conventions do not function as a check against the
correctness of the released total aggregate report, nor against the original
precinct caucus results.

I'm a little surprised by your response, Doug. Both parties, members of
campaigns, and several Iowa citizens have confirmed to me that my take on this
is correct. The Iowa caucuses are much like a central tabulator with no poll
tape, and only citizen anecdotes and something in a brown paper bag held by
central committees, which is not a public record, can back up the announced
results.

This is an insecure system, missing checks and balances, and as a matter of
public policy, must be put right before Jan. 3 2008.

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

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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:08 2007

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