Re: MORE Questions from election officials

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Mon May 03 2004 - 20:43:26 CDT

RE: [voting-project] MORE Questions from election officials
I think David Jefferson knows Shamos pretty well. David may have something "in the can" that he could bring out.

Shamos was on the panel at the cfp2004 conference we were at on APR 23. Some of his comments were jaw-dropping. He seemed to be a strong advocate for plenty of black box testing--as if that could find any and all problems.

Alan D.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp)
  To: ''
  Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 6:37 PM
  Subject: RE: [voting-project] MORE Questions from election officials

  Shamos says "It is important to realize what is supposed to be accomplished in an audit of a voting machine or election. Ideally, one ought to be able to reconstruct the ballots in their entirety, verify that no unusual or unauthorized events took place during voting or tabulation, and review the correctness of the vote totals. To imagine that there is any realistic mechanism to accomplish this is to indulge in fantasy. Let me be very clear on this point - no existing voting system is auditable. Furthermore, I have never seen a design for an auditable system, and doubt that any jurisdiction could afford one if it existed."

  When I read that, it sounds like complete gibberish, as it's fairly obvious that a voter verified paper trail can be audited, recounted, etc. Is there some other meaning of the word "audit" that he's referring to? And if so, is there any advantage to his definition over what most people mean by auditable?

  It would be useful if someone could dig into this paper and disect it -- it's popping up as a reference point for anti-VVPT folks in discussions I'm in, and it'd be very useful to have a more formal analysis than "he's bonkers".

  Any takers?

  - LP

  -----Original Message-----
  []On Behalf Of charlie
  Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 9:13 PM
  Subject: [voting-project] MORE Questions from election officials

  Hello again,
  It turns out that while I was speaking with Denise Lamb (director NASED) this moring, a freind was coinidentally delivering the Mythbreaker's document to Rebecca Vigil-Heron in the same office. She is the President Elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and SOS of New Mexico. She is vehemently opposed to paper trails. Unfortunately, I dont beleive she has plans to read it. (Coinidentally She's off to euorpe tommorow to propote paperless systems there -- good timing regarding the Irish report!).

  Anyhow she handed over the following april 2004 Paper from Carnegie Melon as her main scholarly point of reference on the issue.

  by Micheal Ian Shamos, School of computer Sci.

  who also wrote:

  I put these forth for your discussion. If you want to say it's a bunch of bog trot and ill posed analogies I'm fine with that, but the more specific you are the better I will actually be able to make use of your opinions.


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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:07 2004

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