[FoRK] Irregularities, or the lack thereof

Jeffrey Kay jeff at k2.com
Wed Nov 3 10:13:41 PST 2004

I'm not surprised about Virginia.  Virginia has been Republican for the 
last several elections.  The only way that anyone might have been 
surprised is that the election results came in an unusual order from 
the precincts.  There are wide differences in voting in VA (as you 
know).  My folks voted using by filling in bubbles on a piece of paper 
(Leesburg area) while those of us in Fairfax voted on the WinVote touch 
screens.  Perhaps the high-tech precincts (more Democrats than 
Republican) reported more quickly than the low tech ones.

I'm as surprised as you by the exit polling.  Exit polling is usually a 
good indicator, although I haven't seen anyone show me any historical 
data on this yet.  The margin of error seems unusually high, though.  I 
do agree about suspicion -- I'm not sure that there's any real 
capability in our government for mass conspiracy, but I'd sure like an 
explanation for the degree of error.

BTW, when I voted on the WinVote machine in my precinct, my first 
reaction as I finished was to ask the voting official for a receipt (he 
looked at me like I was from another planet).  I couldn't help notice 
that the power on those devices was daisy chained, so if you unplug the 
first, the rest are screwed.  I was also wondering if they used hard 
disks or flash to store the votes. If a hard drive crashed, you'd be 
toast.   And, of course, being Windows machines, I wondered whether the 
write cache was disabled in the O/S -- I've had to clean up too many 
computers that died before that cache was flushed.

It really calls into question whether there's some system that can be 
put into place to solve some of the voting fraud issues.  As a voter, 
you want your vote to be assured, yet private.  When the Bushies come 
after you, you want to have complete deniability regarding who you 
voted for.  However, in the event of a recount, you'd like to be able 
to offer some positive proof of your vote.  I was contemplating this 
while waiting for an hour in line to vote, but it seems like an almost 
impossible problem.  There are aspects that of this problem that 
reminded me a bit of the digital money concept that some folks worked 
on about 5 years or so ago. Perhaps there's a hint there.

-- jeff

jeffrey kay
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On Nov 3, 2004, at 12:10 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:

> From 3% to 99% of precincts reporting, I never saw CNN waver from 51% 
> Bush and 48% Kerry.  This seems extremely unlikely.
> Virginia was for a while called too close to call, a complete surprise 
> as noted, then 30 minutes later it was magically in the proper range.
> There are a lot of comments about exit polls being so far off.  What 
> if they weren't?
> I suppose there is no point in being suspicious; if there was 
> underhandedness it will eventually come out, throwing very sticky 
> taint-paint on anyone involved or benefiting.  The comment from the 
> Diebold chief about guarunteeing Ohio will haunt us for a while.  
> Hopefully there is some court action somewhere that will provide for 
> complete inspection of machines, software, communication, processes, 
> and offiicials involved in using Diebold machines.
> sdw
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