Re: MORE Questions from election officials

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 09:43:32 CDT

if we want to give an organized response to this the place to start is not with the easy-to-scoff at parts of Shamos's review. The place to start is by simply saying which parts of it seemed to have a grain of sense in them or resonated with you. Then we can discuss these.

For example, The whole airplane analogy bit is analogy so extended it becomes preposterous. Dont need to spend much brain power there.

But I'll mention two things that it takes more serious brainpower to mash down.

example #1: Shamos says serious parallel testing would defeat any time-activated logic bomb. It might miss the case where the logic bomb is activated my a shill but that would require one shill per machine or precint.

Example #2: Shamos says any bug or deliberate attempt to shift votes from one party to another would have to be the same on all machines of the same type and therefore would be caught by the pronounced demographic shift on those machines.

Example #3: Shamos says hacking being impossible at a non-local level because machine makers dont know the ballots/contestants ahead of time is an argument that an amazing number of "important" people have recited to me, even carries weight with ones you would think sympathetic (e.g. ACLU). Shamos goes one better and suggests the simple expedient of making the contest descriptors graphics would be sufficient to thwart any lurking expression like"if m/republican/i " since to insert a graphic reader would such a huge change it would surely be noted.

 In my own presentations I generally dont emphasize hacking (I think bugs are quite suffieint an issue) but somehow everyone always wants to bring up fraud so its an unavoidable topic.

I suspect there is a more global argument to this but I'll note that I think I could design an simple if-statement to spot the word republican or democrat or green in a graphic. the problem with elborating an argument like this is that it risks spinning off into towering stack of situational specifics as absurd as Shamos's Airplane analogy. I dotn want to argue it on that playing field.

So which places seemed the most sensible to you and what is your response?

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:09 2004

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