[OVC-discuss] Someone needs to send this to Shamos

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_browndogs_dot_org>
Date: Sun Jul 19 2009 - 16:36:32 CDT

an interesting tale:

> this is such a pure example of apparent election fraud it's kind of
> breathtaking.
> "In Honduras, according to breaking Catalan newspaper reports
> (translations available, USA Today mention), authorities have seized
> 45 computers containing certified election results for a
> constitutional election that never happened. The election had been
> scheduled for June 28, but on that day the president, Manuel Zelaya,
> was ousted. The 'certified' and detailed electronic records of the
> non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly."
> http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/07/19/1646201/Computerized-Election-Results-With-No-Election?art_pos=3
> And a reminder to VVNMers. We should not be so concerned with
> election fraud as the reason for our cause. What we should seek is
> to increase public confidence in elections by removing things that
> are not trustworthy or comprehendible to the voting public. Voting
> should be transparent so the losers are sure they lost.

One should of course take such breaking news reports with a grain of
salt till confirmed, one could imagine this being some sort of
misinterpretation of the observations (e.g. maybe those were early
voting ballots??)

IN any case assuming the report is correct, it's critical contextual
significane is thus:

One of the big strawmen often raised by folks in favor of electronic
voting is that there is this supposed panacea called "parallel
testing" that is touted as being an invincible process of detecting
rigged machines. The idea is that at random a machine will be chosen
before the elections begin and pulled out of service, then the
election workers will cast pretend votes on it all day long. then
it's output checked for accuracy. This is called "parallel" testing
because it's done in a time period parallel to a real election,
supposedly to "fool" any date dependent software. It's not an awful
idea and would indeed detect some kinds of naive electronic fraud.
But the idea that this is remotely a solution is even more naive.

Moreover, said proponents don't actually ever do this--- it's just a
thought experiment. The real reason for that strawman argument is
not that people would actually would do it, it's that since you could
in principle do it, this keeps that bad guys at bay. Ha Ha Ha.

So it's such a terrible irony then that the very first time in history
that, effectively a different kind of parallel test did occur, that
yep massive machine rigging is found!

the parallel test in this case is: call an election. cancel it
unexpectedly at the last possible second and impound the machines,
test them for rigging.

Anyone know Shamos's e-mail?

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Received on Fri Jul 31 23:17:03 2009

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