RE: GO for March Demo

From: Arnold Urken <aurken_at_stevens_dot_edu>
Date: Fri Mar 05 2004 - 08:37:58 CST

Kurt, I like your direct approach to the error problem.

Perhaps we could begin the demo with a presentation that dramatically
relates error to verification. Perhaps starting with collecting a some
votes (without verification) and then fastforward to the outcome where
there is a discrepancy between the total number of votes and the total
number of voters. An alarm might sound. What do you do in such a
situation? Florida redux? No, build a system that prevents it from
happening by verifying the votes in the data collection and counting

When you have error, the causes can be inadvertent and/or malicious.
Even when the accounting numbers seem consistent, there is no protection
against cooking the books unless there is scrutiny of the data
collection and counting process.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2004 8:14 AM
Cc: Nathan L. Adams;
Subject: Re: [voting-project] GO for March Demo

While I like the idea of an obviously altered mock election of some
American icons versus some universally accepted nasties, I also see a
down side. Would people react adversely toward us because we wrote
cheating code or altered the database rather than focus on our

Having participated in Denton County Texas' evaluation of proposed new
voting equipment and observing the sales tactics, I'm afraid they would
show election officials our demo and seize any differences in the
systems as a way to say we have security flaws in our systems that they
don't have in theirs. You should have heard the misleading statements I
heard from some of these vendor people. If anybody can twist things out
of shape, they can.

Perhaps just focus on the Florida election where 134 votes were lost and
keep hitting them with the question "Don't those folks wish they had
some paper ballots to recount?".

> On Friday 05 March 2004 03:29 am, Jan Karrman wrote:
> > On Thu, 4 Mar 2004, Alan Dechert wrote:
> > > Originally, when I thought of doing the demo, I wanted to set up a
> > > (or some mock up of one) and smash it with a sledge hammer on
> > > Arthur doesn't seem to think that's such a great idea. However, I
> > > we need some stunt other than just showing the system and
explaining how
> > > it works. There has to be some excuse for the TV cameras. If you
> > > some ideas on that, let's have them!
> >
> > There is a program on Swedish television where a guy evaluates
> > products and services. Typically they are bad or dangerous products.
> > The program always ends with him throwing one of the checked items
> > a large trash bin. A bit less drastic perhaps.
> >
> > /Jan
> I think throwing away a 'computer' is a bad idea. The general public
> confuse the vendor cruft with our demo.
> I propose that we demonstrate how easy it is to steal a vote with a
> computerized system that has no voter-verified paper trail. It
shouldn't be
> too hard to fork the demo software and create a version that *appears*
> correctly count the vote, but obviously lies when the tallies are
> Example:
> Have the reporters take turns voting for either 'Cats' or 'Dogs'. We
> even have the machine display a running tally at the start that shows
a 0
> vote count for each choice (just like the Diebold machines). Challenge
> reporters to keep their own running tally. When it is time to show the
> vote, it should be close to reality but the Dogs should always win.
> It would be good to distill all of Diebold's confidence building
tricks out of
> Avi's recent account, and emulate them in this 'bogus-demo':
> Nathan

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Received on Wed Mar 31 23:17:01 2004

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