Re: Re: Fwd: Shamos Rebuttal, almost final

From: Edward Cherlin <cherlin_at_pacbell_dot_net>
Date: Thu May 12 2005 - 21:26:48 CDT

On Thursday 12 May 2005 15:30, Ron Crane wrote:
> On May 12, 2005, at 2:19 PM, Edward Cherlin wrote:
> > <shamos-rebuttal-final.doc>
> I have significant comments on your paragraph on error. I'd
> like to rewrite it; see below the dashed line.
> > Shamos also neglects the potential for harm caused by errors
> > in voting systems, and the documented cases of egregious
> > errors in DRE systems, such as recording several times more
> > votes than there were voters in a precinct.
> To which incident does this refer? Do we know it was error? I
> would use the term "miscounts" instead of "errors", since
> "errors" implies that we know it was a malfunction, and not
> fraud.

The one you cite in the paper. Yes, we know it was error. It
would be too stupid to be fraud.

> > Many elections turn on small numbers of votes, so no comfort
> > can be taken from the fact that only large errors are likely
> > to be detected.
> Again "miscounts" or "failures" would be better.


> > Although Shamos mentions such incidents, he addresses only
> > the possibility of vendor fraud seriously in his paper. This
> > is a serious defect in his analysis, since error is expected
> > to be far more common than fraud, and error is indeed
> > rampant.
> Including this will immediately make the reader question why
> we don't have an extensive exploration of "error".

Because, as you said many times, we are concentrating on what
*Shamos* said.

We have cited plenty of cases of error (or possible fraud). We
don't have to argue the case here in more detail because Shamos
makes no arguments for us to refute.

> > Many kinds of experience show that officials are far more
> > likely to do something about errors in favor of the
> > opposition party than about errors in their party's favor,
> > so pervasive error provides many opportunities to cheat by
> > omission.
> Then that is fraud through use of a random (?) force. It's a
> good point, though, that that can happen, and I'd like to use
> that thought. But we need a cite for it. You mentioned a Duke
> ESP study in which the experimenters found people "settling"
> ambiguous dice to "confirm" their preconceptions. Do you have
> a cite for that?

Well, I learned about it in Psych 101 40 years ago, but let's see
what Google has for us...Nope. Not online. Not the IRS figures
on errors in income tax either.

Well, one likely secondary source is ESP: A Scientific Evaluation
by Charles Edward Mark Hansel, published in 1966, not long after
I took that course. It should bring up the original paper that
my instructor drew on. But we would have to find a printed copy
and look. They are $2.25 used through Amazon. :-(

> > In short, Shamos is directing attention away from more
> > pressing problems.
> Which, again, will make the reader wonder why we don't have an
> extensive exploration of "error".
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> I'd like to rewrite this thusly, and place it in its own
> section, say 3.6 (since it's mainly philosophical in nature).
> Please get me the requested cites:
> Shamos also fails to address the full scope of the potential
> harms caused by voting system faults [1].
We can cut from here
> Studies show that
> people are far more likely to correct errors that favor
> themselves [cite reliable study on tax errors, if possible],
> their opinions [it's be nice to have something for this], or
> their preconceptions [cite the ESP study] than those that do
> not. Thus,
> pervasive
to here
> faults give the dishonest more
> opportunities to cheat
by correcting only errors in their opponents' favor
> . And, to date, electronically-based
> voting systems have demonstrated a wide range of faults [cite
> some stuff from
>, then drop
> footnote to it]. Shamos ignores the opportunities for cheating
> that these faults create, and thus ignore the possibility of a
> wide range of fraud.
> [1] In this context, "faults" means errors, crashes, and any
> other kind of malfunction, even those that could be
> manifestations of fraud.

Edward Cherlin
Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy and more
"A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
--Alice in Wonderland
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:35 2005

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