June 7, 2009
An unexplained ‘glitch’ nearly doubled the reported vote count in a recent local election in Rapid City, SD. Election officials were quick to note that the error was caught and did not change election results.
Comment: election officials always assure the voting public that every thing is OK after a glitch like this is found, metaphorically pat us on the head and tell us to ‘move along … nothing to see here.’ They expect us to ignore the signs that something went wrong that they can’t explain — or how they plan to prevent similar glitchy events in future elections. Read the rest of this entry »
January 11, 2008
The internet has been abuzz since Tuesday night with wild claims that Hillary Clinton “hacked” the NH Primary — or that someone else perpetrated the dirty deed to help Clinton and McCain triumph in the Granite State. Some point to differences between the margins in hand-counted precincts vs. optical scan precincts. Others claim that the pre-election polling could not be so far off from reported results.
Both of these cries of “fraud”, and “hacking” are based on flawed logic — and stunning ignorance or basic misunderstanding of statistics. They also fail to look at the demographic make-up of precincts that produced different margins for the candidates. On the other hand, there has been an almost universal failure to consider whether well-documented problems with the type of optical scan machine used in New Hampshire offers at least a partial explanation of how this happened. Read the rest of this entry »
January 7, 2008
“Can You Count on Voting Machines?” is the question posed by Clive Thompson in his cover article in this week’s New York Times Magazine. The answer, of course, is a resounding “No” due to flawed design, buggy software and poor quality control in the manufacture of these machines, as Thompson ably demonstrates. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/magazine/06Vote-t.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin
Thompson’s solid article is a timely reminder on the eve of the New Hampshire Primary that the nation’s election system is still broken. The curtain was pulled back in Florida 2000 to reveal the sorry state of U.S. elections and, despite the efforts of activists and politicians, there is not as much progress as one would hope. Some states like Florida are making great strides toward transparent paper-based systems, while others like Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Virginia are still struggling to ditch paperless voting machines.
However, there are a few areas of omission that need to be filled in and a few bits of mis-information that need to be corrected. Read the rest of this entry »