Re: [OVC-discuss] draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill

From: Edward Cherlin <echerlin_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jan 26 2009 - 17:57:56 CST

On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 8:06 AM, Jerry Depew <depew@ncn.net> wrote:
> On Sat, 24 Jan 2009 04:48:41 -0600, Edward Cherlin <echerlin@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> The rate of successful and correct scanning of printed
>> ballots is much better than for hand-marked ballots.
>
> How much better than 99.99% do we need to get?

99.99% was entirely inadequate in the Minnesota Senate race, as it had
been in Florida in 2000 (excluding the other horrors of the occasion).

> "There were 2,423,851 votes counted for Coleman and Franken. The "net" error
> rate is the net change in the vote margin from the machine-scan to the hand
> recount . . . . . This was 264 votes, for an accuracy of 99.99% (error, one
> part in ten thousand)."

This is an example of how to lie, or in your case, mislead yourself
with statistics. You are comparing error rates at the end of the
process, after ballots that initially failed to scan were put through
other processes that resulted in acceptance. You are also counting
only ballots where the result was changed after multiple manual
examinations, not the number that was in question after scannng. I was
referring to the raw error rate, which was between 1 and 2% for the
first pass through optical scanning in the last data I have seen.

For example, in Minnesota some ballots came in on the wrong paper, and
had to be photocopied in order to get a clean scan. This resulted in
considerable delay, because the procedure for marking the originals
and copies was not clear or was not followed correctly, resulting in
the (inaccurate) claim that some of them were counted twice. Some
ballots went through extensive manual processing before they were
allowed to be scanned. The infamous "Lizard People" ballot by itself
took up more paid time than the entire original scanning process. The
fact that Minnesota has not had its second Senator seated yet may be
more important in a practical sense than all of the financial losses
from this not-really-very-competent system.

> from Freedom to Tinker at
> http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/appel/optical-scan-voting-extremely-accurate-minnesota

"Extremely accurate" is not the same as "accurate enough". I
personally have been strongly influenced by Godbout's law of
engineering design: "Any measurable error rate is too high." I utterly
reject the claim that we should not pursue lower rates of error in a
system that is also better in many other ways than the alternatives,
and much cheaper.

> --
> Jerry Depew, Laurens, IA
> http://iowavoters.org
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Released under CC-SA, because there is no legal way to release a
document to the public domain.

-- 
Silent Thunder (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) is my name
And Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, The Truth my destination.
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/User:Mokurai (Ed Cherlin)
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Received on Thu Jan 7 00:09:52 2010

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