I'd like to follow up on what Karen Jones-Budd said -- this isn't a political forum. Since there's so much interest in having political flame wars, perhaps you should split off and create math-teach.politics.
I'd like to bring back Annie Fetter's post -- for people to share with Math Forum folks and with this list how they have used voting in their math classes. I was looking forward to seeing the responses to this, but the responses were mostly political!
The only thing that came close was the "Count all the votes" post by Gerald Von Korff. However, it fell short because it didn't talk about the math involved, and how we can get our students interested in this very unique phenomenon. Isn't there a way we can take advantage of this situation?
I've got a couple of relevant stories. Did you hear about the 4th grade class who were asked to vote for Gore on ballots that were just like the ones used in West Palm Beach, FL? 100% of them were able to successfully vote for Gore in less than 1 minute. Here's the usenet posting about it:
Or this story on 2nd graders voting for their favorite Disney character using that ballot:
While these are interesting stories, are they good samples? What can we do with them with our students?
Another lesson comes to mind on modeling what happens when any 2 people count a large amount of cards with more than 2 categories in them -- will it come out the same both times?
Can we get anything other than statistics and probability examples?
Greg Goodknight's post was trying to get at some issues, and though they weren't strictly about math, they were about testing and reliability. I would be very interested to see some answers to his questions. Does anyone have references to the tests that have been done on the ballot counting and the machines?
(Btw, my experience with punch cards tells me that the problem is not that the punch hole did not come out completely, but that the card reader reads more than one card at once. These old machines need to be tuned on a regular basis. But I didn't hear that reason from the media. So much for believing what the media tells you about something you know. But I digress. (But I'm not flaming another poster!) )
Here's to talking about math and teaching math. Can we get on track?
-- Jody S. Underwood, Ph.D. Educational Technologist & Research Associate 610-544-3644 x213 The Math Forum 800-756-7823 101 South Chester Road, Suite 400 610-544-1358 (fax) P.O. Box 156 firstname.lastname@example.org Swarthmore, PA 19081-0156 http://mathforum.com/~jody/