LARGE Human factor problems in florida e-voting??

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Thu Nov 04 2004 - 13:08:30 CST

Kathy Dopp gets credit for noticing this. She sent me the data she had collected from all the precints in florida and noticed some funny numbers. I made a plot showing the difference in voting patterns on e-voting machines and optical scan.

the results can be found here for now:
http://vvnm.org/resources/florida2004/florida_vote_patterns.htm

I'm still mulling it over, but it appears to me that there is VERY VERY strong Human factors problem present.

the e-votes appears to follow party line (more predictable by the people registered in a county to a given party) much much more tightly than the optical scan process.

One hypothesis is that the serial nature of e-voting induces this effect perhaps by making it harder to consciously split vote parties in diferent races. Under this hypothesis The non-full-face, serial nature of electronic voting is highly detrimental to the voting process.

Another hypothesis would be that optical scan machines are wildly inaccurate or have incidences massive ( perhaps >30% !!) undervotes that tend to favor Republicans a bit more often than Democrats. (Most optical scan machines prevent overvotes, though I cant say if florida's machines do). Under this hypothesis electronic voting is significantly more accurate and less biased than optical scan.

I lean towards the human factors explanation. But perhaps there are other hypothesises you can generate. I dont have experience explaining voting patterns.

Thoughts?

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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:09 2004

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