Rich Ulrich wrote: > With 10,000 no-punches where only half that many no-votes should be > expected (in Palm Beach County), they re-counted a 1% sample and came > up with 47 additional votes -- about half of the 100 or so that were > possible, and consistent with the number of no-votes that typically > are seen. There was no report of how many no-punches had existed. > Gore gained, as he was expected to, because Gore carried the county by > almost 2-to-1.
Say punched cards have a 5% reject rate, a figure I've heard several times, then a manual count without bias always raises the totals in proportion to the existing votes. Thus as you say, a Democratic county manually counted picks up net Democratic votes.
Would you say that therefore a Republican county with the reversed numbers ought to be manually counted as well, if a Democratic one is? Otherwise it would seem a net Democratic gain is guaranteed. The county that hand counts wins an even election.
The benefit of the machine counts is the avoidance of bias. The sign of the difference at the end of it all is an excellent estimate, not biased, though the totals are biased low by machine counting.
A hand count improves the totals but ruins the differences. But what you want is the differences, ie the winner, not the totals.
I have heard that punch cards are favored because they retain vote privacy, and they consider the 5% drop rate acceptable. -- Ron Hardin email@example.com