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

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Herman Rubin

Posts: 6,721
Registered: 12/4/04
Re: manual recount - of punched ballots
Posted: Nov 20, 2000 2:19 PM
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In article <3A13F3D9.6CFB15D9@lboro.ac.uk>,
Thom Baguley <t.s.baguley@lboro.ac.uk> wrote:
>Herman Rubin wrote:

................

>> What are the true totals? More than 90% of the ballots are
>> correct, but the question is about errors, Machines cannot make
>> certain types of errors, but can improperly reject ballots.
>> Hand counting of ballots can introduce major biases, in the
>> common meaning of the term.


>I think that is a very good point. In our elections we have a pretty clear
>idea of what constitutes the "true" counts. Counting is by hand and the
>procedures for deciding when a ballot is spoiled are well specified. In most
>cases recounts continue until all candidates are satisfied with the result. I
>know of know case where a UK election has been disputed because of biased
>counts. All candidates are allowed observers during the count and the count is
>conducted by independent non-elected local government officials.


We do have non-elected government officials, but can we find that
many? Also, most of these non-elected officials got their positions
by political appointment at some stage. Even the civil servants are
under political pressure. I doubt that most Americans would trust
these so-called independent officials. We have had a case where
the counters from both parties agreed that Bush ballots were moved
to the Gore pile overnight in the locked counting room; the punch
card nature of the ballots made this easy to spot.

We have the case also in Florida where the counters are attempting
to assess the intent of the voter, and counting ballots if there
is a dent (not even an incomplete punch) in one place. Ballot
rejection has been challenged when there is no question that the
voter voted for more than one candidate, as "illegal confusion".
In most of these cases, the ballot design was by Democrats. These
ballots were voted for two candidates, or for the "wrong" candidate.
This is not a machine counting error.

And there has been one county using a type of paper ballot in
which the observers could only watch through a window, and the
newspapers have reported that they saw ballots counted which
were so badly marked up as to be completely invalid.

And machine voting was originally introduced in the last century
because of fraud.

--
This address is for information only. I do not claim that these views
are those of the Statistics Department or of Purdue University.
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN47907-1399
hrubin@stat.purdue.edu Phone: (765)494-6054 FAX: (765)494-0558





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