Our "Election Integrity" equation solution is an approximation

From: Kathy Dopp <kathy_dot_dopp_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Thu Jul 20 2006 - 02:12:49 CDT

NEDA may or may "not" be able to derive a better formulaic
approximation of the probability formula (We are using the same
original equation that we derived over a year ago to calculate audit
percentages that has been extensively peer-reviewed but are trying to
solve it for one of the variables). Frank and I are still working on
it, but a one-step exact solution is not looking hopeful. The election
integrity equation to solve has several factorials of the variable to
be solved for in it and it is thus difficult (or impossible?) to solve
directly.

The good news is that as precise as desired answer to the number of
vote counts to audit in order to have a desired degree of probability
of detecting outcome-altering vote miscount can be determined with a
computer program or by trial and error using a spreadsheet.

The new equation that I set up last week is only trivially different
than our extensively peer-reviewed and agreed to original probability
equation of over a year ago. I have merely introduced a small new
calculation to make the audit percentage detect outcome-altering vote
miscount.

 The method Frank tried for solving the equation depends for its
precision, on the size of the number of total vote counts being a
large number, which is not true in many counties. I had given Frank
the formula to solve without sufficiently informing him of its
real-life constraints.

The great news is that a computer program to solve the "election
integrity" vote count audit equation will be a simple one - by working
backwards until the correct probability is obtained - almost like a
simple search algoritm that can be quickly narrowed down, with an
approximation function to specify exactly where to begin the search,
and a probability to check the accuracy of the results.

Having a computer program to solve the problem, rather than a simple
formula may make it more difficult to get it adopted as the standard -
but it is easily-explainable to anyone who knows any college-level
probability, and so the scientists of NIST, who set such standards,
will easily understand it.

I have updated NEDA's audit paper with an explanation and table in its
appendix, and the excell spreadsheet will explain it to most people.

http://electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/paper-audits/Paper_Audits.pdf

and

http://electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/paper-audits/ and get
AuditCalculator.xls

If anyone wants to take on the project of creating a program to
calculate the correct audit percentage for detecting outcome-altering
vote miscount, or fixing up the spreadsheet that now lets people
calculate it by trial and error, that would be terrific. I'm buried
without enough funding to hire any help.

-- 
----
Kathy Dopp
http://electionarchive.org
National Election Data Archive
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Received on Mon Jul 31 23:17:06 2006

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