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Topic: New project: certification in statistics
Replies: 17   Last Post: Nov 20, 2000 3:14 PM

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Posts: 1,089
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: manual recount - of punched ballots
Posted: Nov 12, 2000 7:07 PM
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On Sun, 12 Nov 2000 23:45:39 GMT, Ron Hardin <>
>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.

Admitted talking from the UK where all elections except the London
Mayor are hand counted (and counting the London result took longer
than any other in the country by several hours due to "electrostatic
tablecloths"), if I was an candidate I would insist that all rejected
ballots (spoiled or null) were manually examined in the whole state.

This is automatic here and in 1984 I picked up a net three in this
simple exercise (I still lost by 40,000 and there were only 300
spoiled papers anyway). It also means that if someone defaces their
ballot paper with a political message, it is at least seen by another
human being. In closer elections, it has made a difference to the

Since we know the ballots were different in each county in Florida, it
seems quite possible that there is bias between machines (even if each
machine was not biased between candidates). If the "5%" varies
between counties or precincts, it is a serious issue

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