Re: TAR--audits. urgently need help to get law.

From: Kathy Dopp <kathy_dot_dopp_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Nov 22 2006 - 14:44:24 CST

On 11/22/06, >
> Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 23:28:52 -0700
> From: Charlie Strauss <>
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] TAR--audits. urgently need help to get law.

> The primary practical advantages of the other uniform sub sampling

What does "uniform sub sampling approach" mean?

> possibly getting it over with on election night when one is well
> staffed, and because it's procedurally easier to check every single
> race rather than subsets when the number of ballots to count is small
> (like 10% per precinct).

and a ballot sampling procedure is subject to all the problems and
disbelief that exit polls are, plus provides incomplete information.

> it's weakness is that it's somewhat harder to take action from the
> results since you can't specifically focus on specific machines and
> analyze the source of errors. If one is doing counts post election,
> with a reduced staff, then I think it's better to concentrate efforts
> on a few machines rather than try to open up and sample all of them.

Oops OK. Now I understand that you were talking about ballot sampling
above, which is not what you support.

For your procedure, how are you going to calculate the amount of audit
since the amount of total vote counts differs in each race in each
county? i.e. the race with the smallest margin may be a race with
only 15 vote counts involved in it - a school board race in a county,
for example.

Now that I think about it, I am completely lost in how you can use one
race to determine how many vote counts to audit in all other races
since the regions and number of vote counts for each race vary so
much.I would like to see how you account for all the overlapping
districts and size variation of districts and overlapping multi-county
races and machine count size variation in your calculations. I'm not
saying you don't have answers, just that I would like to know what
they are.

> >
> > You should change your language though to audit "machine COUNTS", not
> > "machines".
> I think the legislation is clear on this. My colloquial discussion
> is brushing over the details. But hand counts of machine totals of
> actual ballots are what consists of the check.

Oh good.

> >
> > Is NM using Precinct-based op-scan (PCOS) machines or Central count
> > CCOS?
> Both. M-100s are the precinct machines. Most but not all counties
> will uses banks of M-100s for early voting. But absentee and some
> provisional ballots will go into the model 650 central scans.
> Our plan calls for batching the absentee ballots into sets that are
> roughly the size of a precinct before counting them. Then later
> these batches can be considered virtual machines for the purposes of
> selection. This essentially normalizes the terminlogy and avoids

That sounds very good.

> ugly, non-transparent, complexity of trying to weight the statistics
> for machines with grossly different numbers pf counts.

Its actually not that ugly. Just obtain a list of total ballots cast
for each precinct, order it largest to smallest, and input it into the
numerical algorithm that chugs very quickly.

> If all the
> machines have roughly the same numbers of votes and one is sampling
> more than a handful of machines, the possibility differences induced
> by having different numbers of ballots per machine mostly averages
> out. Or if you like ergodic arguments it averages out even better

ergodic = pertaining to the condition that, in an interval of
sufficient duration, a system will return to states that are closely
similar to previous ones

thanks for the new word.

> over repeated trials in different elections. THis makes the
> calculations simple.

still don't know how you calculate and not miss many races that are
only in specific districts when races have various sizes of vote
counts and districts are such a mess of overlapping strange shapes.

> >
> > If PCOS, then you are aware that you are really selecting polling
> > locations COUNTS, rather than precinct COUNTS, if you specify the
> > machine rather than the machine COUNTS to audit.
> I'm completely puzzle by this terminology. We have a machine. it has
> some ballots in the hopper and an electronic readout of the totals.
> The recount sample consists of picking a machine (or absentee batch)
> and seeing if and by how much the total from a hand count of the
> ballots differs from the electronic total.

I thought that was cleared up by what you said above. You said
earlier that you were sampling machines rather than precinct counts.
Sampling machines would mean sampling whole polling locations. Yet
then afterwards, you said earlier in this same email above, that you
were sampling precinct counts, now you again say that you are sampling
machines rather than precinct counts. If you are not sampling
precinct counts and are sampling all ballots counted on particular
machines, then you once again are causing size variation of various
polling locations to have an unwanted effect. You keep changing what
you say you are auditing, so that it is confusing to have a

If you are going to loosely use imprecise language and expect me to
read your mind on what you mean, then this conversation will continue
to be entirely confusing. Please say whatever it is that you mean

> in all cases we are machine centric not precinct centric. But in
> most cases there will be one machine per precinct, so there is

It is more normal to have one machine per polling location and polling
locations with varying numbers of precincts and voters, so you will
therefore have a problem with size variation of your counts and you
must adjust the calculations of audit sample size for that.

> commonly a one-to-one correspondence.

This must be specific to New Mexico then, because most states I've
heard of have multiple precincts in one polling location and one PCOS
system per polling location to handle all precincts there.

> (However if one only looked at
> a canvass total for the precinct then this would also sum in the
> early, absentee, and provisional ballots. In that case the apparent

Not so. Any audit must separately audit the various vote types to be
done correctly IMO.

> total for the precinct would not be the precinct total for the
> election day by itself.)

Yes. absolutely.

Obviously the machine COUNTS that are selected for audit, must be
divided up by Vote Type - absentee, mail-in, provisional, early, etc.

Perhaps our election integrity audit paper did not make that
sufficiently clear. It seems so obvious.

I think if you read my audit proposal for Utah, you will see that the
auditable report that must be released publicly prior to any random
selections are made, require complete separation of the various counts
that could be selected for audit.

> > in the total number of ballots cast in each polling location as it
> > explains and shows how to do in our paper here:
> no we are selecting machines since that's where the correspondence is
> made at the finest grain that is still exactly verifiable.

Not true. I thought at one point you were selecting precinct counts
on each machine, now you say you are selecting machines again, rather
than any specific precinct counts, and therefore would be selecting
counts for entire polling locations if you are going to hand count
100% of what the PCOS machines count - Oh that's right you claim that
New Mexico is different than other states and uses only one machine
per precinct, so I'm wrong and you're right because "machines count
only one precinct" in New Mexico, unlike most other states which are
moving to Voting Centers with multiple precincts.

Here in Utah, precincts are an artificial grouping election officials
make larger in order to avoid recounts that, according to Utah
statute, require margins to be off by less than one vote per precinct
to trigger recounts, confusing our programming of ballot definitions.

Precincts should be unique groups of voters who all vote on the same
issues and races because they share all the same districts IMO.


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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:11 2006

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