Re: Shamos Rebuttal, Draft 2

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Wed May 04 2005 - 08:11:44 CDT

My comments follow.

1. Please follow standard North American
Typographical Convention. I pulled out venerable
old copy of Words into Type, 3rd edition,
Prentice Hall, 1974.

"Position of references. Reference figures or
marks should be set after any mark of punctuation
except the dash or a closing parenthesis if the
matter relates to matter within the parentheses.
They should be placed after, not before, a word
that is explained or amplified." (p. 23)

You consistently place your reference marks
before the comma or period that ends the clause
or sentence. They go after.

"Use with other marks. Set quotations outside of periods and commas.
"Quotation marks in conjunction with colons and
semicolons should be set inside, because the
colons and semicolons are sentence punctuation,
not part of the quotation.
"Set quotation marks outside of exclamation
points and interrogation points [question marks]
that are part of the quotation, inside of points
that are not....
"When quotation marks are used in conjunction
with points of ellipsis or with etc., care should
be taken to see that the quotation marks are
placed so that they indicate clearly whether the
omitted material is part of the quotation or
"When a possessive must be formed for a quoted
word or phrase, the apostrophe and s are placed
outside the closing quotes; but try to avoid this
construction by rewording...." (p. 222)

You consistently place your quotation marks
inside (before) your periods and commas. They go

Many people violate these rules, but I stand in
their defense, having learned them from none
other than Prof. Don Knuth, developer of the TeX
typesetting system.

2. You use the phrase "democratic republic"
without explanation. I think an endnote is
warranted on first use.

3. On the bottom of the first page, the
paragraph-opening sentence that begins with "Of
the second class of error" is awkwardly worded
and confusing.

4. Section 3.1.1, fourth line from end:
"systematically can" should be "can

5. "e.g." should be followed by a comma,
particularly when in parentheses. Wouldn't you
use a comma after if "for example" were there
instead). Item (2) on page 3 is an example of a
place that needs fixing.

6. In some places you have two spaces between
words instead of one. Do a global search. One
such place is between "of" and "chemical" on
pagve 4.

7. Re: Section 3.3, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay
Bridge worked fine for some 60 years until there
was an earthquake....

8. Re: Section 3.5.1. See the Editorial in the
New York Times on Sunday, June 13:

EDITORIAL DESK | June 13, 2004, Sunday

Gambling on Voting

  (NYT) Editorial; Series 863 words
Late Edition - Final , Section 4 , Page 12 , Column 1

ABSTRACT - Editorial, in series Making Votes
Count, contends that if election officials want
to convince voters that electronic voting can be
trusted, they should be willing to make it at
least as secure as slot machines; maintains that
to appreciate how poor oversight on voting
systems is, it is useful to look at way Nevada
systematically ensures that electronic gambling
machines in Las Vegas operate honestly and
accurately; holds that electronic voting, by
comparison, is rife with lax procedures, security
risks and conflicts of interest; cites ways in
which gamblers are more protected than voters

9. Section 4.1.1. Change "power-line broadband"
to "broadband over power lines (BPL)" so that the
acronym is defined before use a paragraph later.

10. Section 4.2. Indicate that the malware could
remove itself from memory and delete where it was
loaded from after operating, so that a subsequent
audit of the equipment would find no trace of it.

In particular, may I suggest that the malware be
invoked at end-of-day voting session closeout by
clearing the display in an ideosyncratic way.
The malware loads (if it is present and otherwise
does nothing), then alters the votes or vote
totals, then erases all traces of itself other
than the loader, and then exits. A subsequent
audit of the equipment will find nothing unusual,
and the malware loader is ready to do its job
when the software is reloaded for the next

11. A nice quote for section 4.3 is:

"[P]rogram testing can be used very effectively
to show the presence of bugs but never to show
their absence." Edsger W. Dijkstra

12. Re: Section 4.5. Has ANY election jurisdiction adopted this approach?

There are references to Section 3.1 that should
specifically mention that they refer to sections
in Shamos' paper.

13. Section 4.6.

Comma after (e.g., again.

Where you cite 85, you should also cite Kevin
Shelley's orders for an Accessible Voter Verified
Paper Audit Trail.

By the way, I just noticed
which I hadn't seen before. Anyone have comments?

Note the Audio Audit trail:

I couldn't read this file. Maybe someone else
can decode it:

There's also this paper, which may be a good cite
for how many people actually look at the paper
audit trail.
("A Day of Poll Watching")
Someone should do the statistical analysis if 1%
of the ballots are wrong and 20% of the voters
look at their ballots and there are, say, 100
votes per machine and, say, 100 machines with the
error, what's the likelihood of a voter actually
catching such an error?

14. End of Section 5.

Check out for a good rebuttal.

Also the member opinion poll at

86.38% strongly agreed with:

"ACM's proposed policy position concludes that
due to the risks and vulnerabilities inherent in
many voting systems in use today - particularly
computer-based electronic voting systems - it is
important that physical records (e.g., paper) are
maintained to ensure that a vote has been cast
accurately and that a meaningful physical record
of a vote exists."

I'd recommend getting an update on the number of
signers at Verified by category. They
no longer have the numbers (or lists) on their

Footnote 3. "record, cast, or tabulate votes" not
"cast, tabulate, or canvass votes"

Footnotes 12, 13, and others without a document
cite. I think you are referring to THIS paper.
If so, you should be explict and say so.

Footnote 24 has weird spacing.

Footnote 37 needs comma after e.g.

Footnote 41 uses Section instead of double S symbol.

Footnote 54, Also cite

Footnote 64. "would" should be "could";
"address" should be "location" (it could be on

Footnote 68. I prefer this cite: Neil F.
Johnson and Sushil Jajodia, "Steganography:
Seeing the Unseen," IEEE Computer, February 1998:

Footnote 81. "subordinate" is not quite right.
In California, the paper audit trail IS supposed
to be used for manual recounts and is controlling
in those cases. I'd say,

"The VVPAT is maintained for auditing or recount
purposes, but in general the corresponding
electronic record of the vote is the one
tabulated first. In practice, only a small
number of VVPAT records are actually tallied, and
usually manually and usually as part of a
statistical test."

Footnote 91. Cite a source of the 14th amendment.

Best regards,

At 10:15 PM -0700 5/3/05, Ron Crane wrote:
>Here it is. While reviewing some of Shamos's
>citations, I found something I believe to be
>rather un-kosher. Those of you with academic
>backgrounds should especially read the end of my
>section 4.6, beginning at "Finally, and most
>In any case, please comment. I'd like to roll
>the final version on or before next Monday.
>P.S. I am sorry about the MS word format, but
>Word doesn't include the endnotes when I save in
>RTF format.
>Attachment converted: ARK G4 Powerbook
>HD:shamos-rebuttal.doc (WDBN/«IC») (001CE623)
>OVC discuss mailing lists
>Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:17 2005

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