Monthly Archives: October 2007

A random post

From Joseph Hall’s blog:

(This is funny, but you have to let me build it up with context…)

In elections, especially in election audits, we often have to produce random numbers that an observer can prove to themselves came from a true source of randomness.

The RAND corporation also publishes a book of random numbers, which you can buy: “A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates”.

So, where’s the funny in all of this? Check out the reviews on Amazon for the RAND book. They’re drop-dead hilarious. My favorite is the first one:

A truly amazing genre-breaking work of art unlike any that has ever been or ever will. I was captivated from the moment I opened the cover until the extremely suspenseful moment I turned the last page. With that said, I was a little disappointed that 71602 was knocked off by 92937 just as the plot was unfolding, but the arrival of 96240 really got my blood pumping and I just couldn’t put the book down from that moment on.

I am so glad that Amazon.com is offering the “Search Inside This Book” option for this book so that it can be enjoyed by countless other avid readers who otherwise may not have come across it. I wait, impatiently, for the audio CD version of this fine book

Be sure to read Joseph’s whole post and to look through the reviews for this book as well. There are some gems in there.

(Joe describes himself as a politechnologist and PhD student at UC Berkeley’s School of Information. He was involved in at least the documentation part of the CA secretary of states Debra Bowen’s top-down review of electronic voting machines.)

Breaking anonymity

Hi there. My name is Greg Wolfe.

When I started this blog I decided to be anonymous. Today I’ve decided to break that anonymity and public state who I am. Read on to learn why.

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I am back

Yes, it has been nearly three weeks since I last posted but I am back.

Half of my posting vacation was due to being busy with other activities and half was due to me being out of town for real-life vacation.

There are lots of interesting things to write about so expect a flurry of posts soon.

Daniel Castro’s response to my ITIF review

Daniel Castro has responded to review of the ITIF eVoting report that he wrote.

In that review I agree with his thesis that “end-to-end verifiable” voting systems should be encouraged and be part of the debate on electronic voting and I basically agree with his recommendations. But I strongly disagreed with his assessment of the relative risks of paper systems, electronic voting systems, and electronic voting systems that print a voter verified paper trail. I also found much of the tone of his report offensive.

My assessment is:
e2e verifiable system > paper system > eVoting with voter verified paper trail > eVoting

His appears to be:
e2e verifiable system > eVoting > eVoting with voter verified paper trail > paper system

And I believe that we both agree the e2e voting systems need more support and some trial runs but are not yet ready for widespread deployment.

To put it pithily, “I agree with the thesis of this disagreeable report“.

Here is his response. This is posted with his permission:
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transcript for Texas legislature clip

Regarding the remarkable clip of rule breaking Texas legislators voting for their colleagues, here is the transcript, including a statement from Alexis DeLee, Spokesperson for House Speaker, Tom Craddick:

There’s been a lot of debate at the State Capitol on bills relating to voter integrity. Some lawmakers are pushing for measures such as requiring voters to show a photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot.

Another bill would criminalize anyone who delivers a ballot for someone unable to drive to the polls.

With so much emphasis on one vote for one person, you’d think lawmakers would make sure they follow the rules, too.

In this CBS 42 Investigates, Nanci Wilson found many don’t.

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Texas Legislators vote multiple times?

This is an astounding video showing Texas legislators voting for absent members.
Such votes are against the rules of the Texas legislature but are apparently common practice.

Open questions:

  • Does willfully violating the rules mean that the legislators are violating their oaths of office?
  • Are these votes courtesy votes done with the consent of the absentee member or are a mad mercenary attempt to get as many votes as possible in the rule-breaking voter’s favor?

[Update: here is the transcript]

I’ve been part of a lively debate about some of the issues raised by this video in this forum. I have a number of comments there, so be sure to check it out.

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