Fwd: election info page on planetwork.net

From: Edward Cherlin <cherlin_at_pacbell_dot_net>
Date: Thu Nov 11 2004 - 11:51:02 CST

Another resource. I'll ask Jim to put a link to OVC on his
election page.

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Subject: election info page on planetwork.net
Date: Wednesday 10 November 2004 01:51 pm
From: jim_at_planetwork_dot_net
To: edward.cherlin@etssg.com

Hi All,

Rather than send out a stream of email I have decided to repost
 info on the election to an area on planetwork.net under
 ELECTIONS from the home nav.


I can't keep up with it all myself, but I am attempting to
 provide some filtering and elevate links to the most reasoned
 and careful critiques to the top while leaving off links to the
 most strident and partisan diatribes.

For what its worth, here are some of my general observations.

1. The US election system is not accurate enough to measure the
 results of close races. Virtually all US elections have an
 error rate in the range of 1-6% (or worse!) due to spoiled
 ballots, under-vote, over-vote, glitches, etc. This means that
 with an increasingly polarized and closely divided electorate
 we might as well be flipping a coin. (except that if we did
 that one would expect each side to be winning about half the
 time--unless one side were more successfully gaming the

2. The biggest fundamental problem with our election system is
 social more than technical, i.e. we have partisan political
 officials managing the election process. No amount of
 technology can fix this, but bad technology choices can make it

3. Virtually all election tabulation results are run through a
 computer at some point in the process, so while touch screen
 voting machines without a paper trail have gotten the most
 press (and should never have been allowed in the first place)
 my thoroughly unscientific survey of the reports I have seen
 suggest that the most disturbing patterns of divergence form
 exit polling may have occurred more in precincts than with
 optical scan than with DRE¬ís (this time).

4. Exit polling is so accurate that where there is a large and
 consistent pattern of discrepancy with official results an
 investigation is warranted.

5. Exit polling data should be publicly archived, by hour, so
 that we can observe trends. Instead, *actual* results are
 gradually dribbled in to make the polling data match the
 official results by the end of the official count. This makes
 it very difficult to independently verify claims about exit
 polling data now.

Best wishes,

Recommended Links:


Verified Voting

Black Box Voting

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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 Nov 30 23:17:27 2004

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