Re: Fwd: Question re. audits in Wisconsin

From: <dr-jekyll_at_att_dot_net>
Date: Wed Nov 08 2006 - 06:46:28 CST

>> Where is the statistical analysis that supports this procedure? In particular, where's the analysis that
>> supports the complete omission of randomly-chosen audits?

There is nothing stopping the candidates from using mathematical tools when making their choices. When choosing the precincts for the small contests where consensus is frequently unachievable, the choices default to randomly-chosen.

The TAR is designed on decentralization of political power. It doesn't preclude the use of statistical analysis to choose audit precincts. It is designed to keep that power from being concentrated in the hands of one centralized authority.

--
Kurt 
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-------------- Original message from Ron Crane <voting@lastland.net>: -------------- 
dr-jekyll@att.net wrote: 
...Here's what I have in my Targeted Audit Recount (TAR) for the candidate for office contests.  The ballot question contests have similar rules:
Candidate For Office Contests:
 
Number of Precincts to be audited based on Contest Size:
 
Large       State-wide contests                                                    10 precincts
Medium  Congressional or State Senate size                                 5 precincts per contest
Small       State Representative, County-Wide, and Municipal       5 Precincts/County
 
Precinct Allocations:
20%  Winning candidate
20%  Allocated to all the losing candidate(s) with less than 10% of the vote count.
Chosen via pro-rata, consensus, or random selection process, such as drawing lots in the presence of the candidates, of those precincts nominated by members of this group.
Remaining precincts to losing candidates with 10% or more of the vote.
Chosen via pro-rata, consensus, or random selection process of those precincts nominated by members of this group.  In most elections, this will be one candidate.
If evidence of fraud is found, that particular allocation gets an addition allocation 5 times greater.  I have the initial allocations small in order that the people doing the recounts are attentive.  I believe exhaustive random audits are too tedious.  That kind of boredom dulls the people's senses.
Also, it has time limits in order to be sure it is done within a few weeks after the election.
Where is the statistical analysis that supports this procedure? In particular, where's the analysis that supports the complete omission of randomly-chosen audits? I have nothing against targeting -- in fact, I think it's a good idea --  but it must be added to random audits, not substituted for them. As I wrote earlier, targeted recounts alone are insufficient not just when one party is hyper-dominant, but where a candidate (especially a major-party candidate) does not aggressively contest fraud. This happens more often than you might expect. One might point, for example, to John Kerry's quick concession in Ohio, 2004, which left the contest to the Green and Libertarian candidates. The courts promptly declared them to lack standing to challenge miscounts that allegedly disfavored Kerry, leaving the race essentially uncontested despite numerous credible allegations of fraud (e.g., http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf ).
In addition, a voter has an interest in the proper counting of her votes (and of everyone else's votes) totally apart from the candidates' interests, and that interest is not necessarily served by targeted recounts, particularly those conducted under the candidates' auspices.
-R 

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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:06 2006

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