From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Fri Nov 12 2004 - 14:55:08 CST

I really like Charlie's addition, below.

Also, he remarks:

> that bit about bush winning by large margins as the lead just stinks
> to me....

I agree here too. Many Democrats, particularly, have
noted--truthfully--that Bush won by the smallest margin of any
incumbent (who won), since 1914 (or was it 1918... a bunch of years

I agree with the point Alan is getting at (at least tentatively). The
evidence so far is that the errors in Ohio, even if corrected/able,
probably don't add up to the 150k margin that would change the
electoral outcome. And likewise for other states where DREs had
problems (detected or likely). But we shouldn't use the
Republican-partisan tone of calling it "sweeping" or "mandate."

Good language:
> Close elections, unexpected voting patterns, armies of
> statisticians...Who can really tell the difference between and error
> and an unexpected outcome. "Dewey beats Truman" will always be with
> us. The crux of the issue is that there will be alays be close
> elections and we have to be able to tell the difference between
> unexpected voting patterns and actual errors. We cant simply make
> error-free machines--those will never exist. But we can make a
> process that can withstand errors and work well. How? you need two
> ingedients; first you must be able to spot errors, and second you need
> to be able to correct them. The final requirment is the most
> important of all: it must be transparent to every voter how it does
> this.
> Unlike other schemes using complex data handling and voter receipts
> the OVC system meets all three of these needs. A voter verified paper
> trail provides and independent audit trail that allows electronic
> errors to be both spotted and corrected. It combines the security
> advantages of paper and electronic systems while retaining their
> individual advantages. And it's all transparent to the voter and the
> election officials how it works.
> At present we really have no checks on either ordinary paper ballots
> or electroinc voting machines. With paper we at least can recount if
> something goes wrong--as happened in Daytona FL this election. OVC
> provides two audit paths, one electorinc and the other on paper, with
> each having independent failure modes.
> The press has been too quick to sieze the false story that the great
> fears of electronic election catastrophe never materialized. Yet not
> a single one of the election vulnerabilites has been addressed. This
> is not unlike the critisism recently leveled at NASA over the Columbia
> disaster. With each successive successful launch, known threats were
> further ignored even though their chance of happening was unchanged.
> The situation is somewhat worse with pure electronic vote recording.
> When the Columbia exploded we knew it happened, but we dont actually
> know if electroinc voting is working well since there's no way to
> check.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alan Dechert <>
> Sent: Nov 12, 2004 1:11 PM
> To:
>> Alan I hate it.
> Thanks, Charlie. Specific wording would be appreciated.
> Alan D.
>> The message for me this election was
>> 1) it was close
>> 2) there were known errors
>> 3) there were certainly unknown too
>> 4) But we cant tell the difference between an error and a surprising
> outcome
>> 5) there are always going to be errors, and close outcomes
>> 6) the goal shoul dnot be to make an error-proof machine, but rather a
> robust system
>> 7) this requires making errors detacable
>> 8) the requires making error differentiable for odd statistics
>> 9) this require being able to correct errors when they occur
>> 10) voter confidence requires tranaparentcy in all of the above.
>> Frankly it makes no difference to me that there were errors in this
> election or if we averted a disaster just with a large margin. The
> looming
> potential of fraud and errors is problem enough.
>> I also like Avi Ruben's take that the press set up this hypothetical
> train wreck by hyping the potential for errors as a high likelihood of
> a
> disaster. Now the story is that this was another millenium bug
> overhyped by
> the verified voting henny pennies. I think you should address this
> by
> stressing the potential for problems remains unchanged. Microsoft has
> had
> secuirty holes lurking in designs that only come to light years later.

A nice word for MS: <IMG SRC="c:\con\con">
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:30 2004

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