Monthly Archives: August 2007

The WhyTuesday pledge

The folks at WhyTuesday have caught my attention. Today I decided to sign their pledge.

WhyTuesday

I encourage you to do the same. Continue reading

More on electronic voting machines

A bit more on electronic voting machines (EVTs):

The site Counted as Cast is a good resource for information about what systems are out there, where they are used, and what sort of issues there are with EVTs. What is interesting to me is that the primary arguments for EVTs (accessibility and cost saving) are fairly weak.

For your information and entertainment, here is a graphic from the Washington post entitled “How to steal an election”:

It’s easier to rig an electronic voting machine than a Las Vegas slot machine, says University of Pennsylvania visiting professor Steve Freeman. That’s because Vegas slots are better monitored and regulated than America’s voting machines, Freeman writes in a book out in July that argues, among other things, that President Bush may owe his 2004 win to an unfair vote count. We’ll wait to read his book before making a judgment about that. But Freeman has assembled comparisons that suggest Americans protect their vices more than they guard their rights, according to data he presented at an October meeting of the American Statistical Association in Philadelphia.

(click on image to see full graphic)
Rigging an electronic voting machine vs a slot machine

Did Sequoia intentionally sabotage the 2000 elections?

Burried in my summary of the broadcast of Dan Rather presents “The Trouble with Touch Screens” is a description of allegations of incompetence and/or fraud by Sequoia voting systems in their production of punchcard ballots for the 2000 election.

These are the punchcards that were used in Florida and taught Americans terms like hanging chad.

There are serious allegations. It is important that these allegations are investigated:

  • Did Sequoia voting systems knowingly produce defective ballots?
  • Did Sequoia voting systems intentionally produce defective ballots?
  • Did Sequoia voting systems intentionally produce especially defective ballots for Palm Beach county?
  • Did Sequoia voting systems attempt to cover-up the evidence of these problems?

Tell congress to investigate!

Here is a summary of what was revealed in Dan’s report:
Continue reading

Tell congress to investigate ES&S and Sequoia

Are you unhappy with the incompetence, poor quality, and allegations of fraud that are revealed in Dan Rather’s “The Trouble with Touch Screens”?

Then do something about it!

Go sign the petition demanding that Congress investigate the allegations made in the report.

More Dan Rather on voting machines

The trouble with tribbles touchscreens

The full hour of the Dan Rather presents “The Trouble with Touch Screens” is now available online. It is a very interesting show to watch! The name of the show is actually misleading as the show covers three major topics:

  • ES&S iVotronic voting machines issues in the 2000 election (focused on Florida: Sarasota and Lee counties)
  • An interesting interview with Michael Shamos, a Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor who is supportive of voting machines in theory but critical of their use within the US
  • evidence of incompetence or fraud by Sequoia voting systems in the 2000 election paper ballots. In particular accusations and evidence of special changes for Palm Beach Florida where many paper ballot flaws occurred

Continue reading

BlogPulse trends

(I am continuing to review a couple of online tools to track the popularity of ideas over time. Please forgive this segway away from voting reform issues.)

BlogPulse’s trend search tool is another service to track the popularity of search terms over time based on how many blogs mentioned them recently.

Their instructions:

Type your search terms in the boxes on the left. Type descriptive labels for each search into the boxes on the right. Then choose your time frame: 1, 2, 3 or 6 months.

They only allow three terms to be searched and graphed at a time.

Here is an example search of “evoting” vs “voting machine” vs “gerrymandering”. Of note in this sample is that the choice of keywords is very important. “voting machine” and “evoting” may be synonyms but they get very different results.

BlogPulse sample

From my experimentation, it appears that they do NOT support advanced query syntax like boolean expressions in their trend tool.

Wishlist:

  • add the ability to compare more than 3 searches per chart
  • support advanced search features like boolean expressions and clearly document what is supported
  • clearly state whether users are allowed to save trend graph images and host those images on their own sites.

subscribe to All About Voting via email

You can now Subscribe to All About Voting via email!

Not everyone is comfortable using the web interface or using RSS so this gives people another option for following my rantings this blog.

I also surface subscription options up in the side bar.

Dan Rather on Touch Screen voting

From the Brad Blog comes this news that Dan Rather reports presents conclusive evidence of touch screen voting machine failures. To air Tuesday, August 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET and 11:00 p. m. ET.

Continue reading

Why Tuesday on the Redistricting Game

Redistricting Game

The folks at Why Tuesday have made a 5 minute video segment where they visit Chris Swain, director of the University of Southern California’s Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab to discuss The Redistricting Game.

View the segment.

While you are at it, you can visit the Redistricting Game blog

A predictable outcome

Most single winner districts are extremely predictable in that one can predict with very high probability who will win an election long before the actual election occurs.

This certainly occurs with gerrymandered single winner districts and is possibly inherit to single winner districts that use the conventional plurality voting system (vote for one, whoever gets the most votes wins).

Only a few factors can lead to a very solid prediction of who will win. Incumbency is one such factor. Incumbents almost never lose.

Take the 2006 midterm elections as an example. This is viewed as ‘a great change election’. In that election over 94% of incumbents remained in power. And this, indeed, was a shake-up. Normally an incumbent will win an election 98% of the time.

To see just how predictable elections are, consider the projections that FairVote makes in it’s Monopoly politics report. They make their predictions 2 years ahead of the elections and have had an accuracy rate of 99.8% in projecting winners in the 1,613 races the called between 1996-2004 (for 552 races they did
not make predictions but instead labeled these races as competitive or vulnerable). The only data that they use in predicting the winner for a district is the results from recent federal elections in the district and the incumbent’s party and seniority.

So incumbents win 98% of the time and 75% of US legislature elections are predictable with 99.8% accuracy more than one year ahead of the elections. In other words, we don’t really have a two party dominated political system. Instead each voter is effectively dominated by one party.


An open question:

The ‘one party’ article references the ‘political oddsmaker’ site by Ron Faucheux. However, the link to it is broken. Is this still online? What is the link?