November 24, 2007

IRV Fiasco in Frisco

Posted in Elections, IRV, paper ballots, politics, San Francisco IRV election, voting machines tagged , , , , at 8:53 am by bluebanshee

This month’s IRV election in San Francisco had a  lo…onnngg count with the final results not being announced within 24 hours of the close of polls as is customary in U.S. elections but delayed for weeks.

There is lots of fingerpointing about the delayed election results, with some blaming CA SOS Bowen and others saying that it is the fault of the AutoMark ballot marking device that is used by disabled voters. Both of these analyses contain just enough of a shred of truth that they are wholeheartedly embraced by segments of the public. But neither explanation considers the complete situation while at the same time overlooking salient facts. The situation is much more complex.

The story begins with Debra Bowen’s election as California Secretary of State in November 06 and her determination to study the election system in her state and document its strengths and weaknesses. To that end, SOS Bowen decided to conduct a Top to Bottom (T2B) Review of the equipment and software used in her state. She contracted with University of California at Berkeley to do the study. There were four key areas studied: Software Code review, Documentation review Red Team penetration study and Accessibility review. Further information about the results of the T2B Review can be found at:

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