When Bush is president, and the votes are finally counted

9 views
Skip to first unread message

s...@ultranet.com

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
I believe that the Electoral College will elect George Bush as our next
president.

I also believe that it's very possible, in fact probable, that Gore got
more votes than Bush in Florida.

Now, I think one of two things will happen some time in the next 6
months:

1. The Florida ballots are counted, and Gore is seen to have won Florida.
2. The Florida ballots (at least some of them) mysteriously disappear.

If I am correct, what do you think will happen:

If the ballots are finally counted before Jan 20 and Gore has more?
If the ballots are finally counted after Jan 20 and Gore has more?
If the ballots disappear?

- Steve Stein


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Info Junkie

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <908gvp$amk$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
s...@ultranet.com wrote:
"snip"

>
> Now, I think one of two things will happen some time in the next 6
> months:
>
> 1. The Florida ballots are counted, and Gore is seen to have won
> Florida.
> 2. The Florida ballots (at least some of them) mysteriously disappear.
>
> If I am correct, what do you think will happen:
>
While you bring up interesting questions, let's review:

> If the ballots are finally counted before Jan 20 and Gore has more?

This will be irrelevant after Dec 18th when the Electoral College votes
have been counted, by VP Gore, as President of the Senate.

> If the ballots are finally counted after Jan 20 and Gore has more?

If a president has not yet been selected by the House of
Representatives (else, see first question), the Senate may elect a
Vice-President, who, after taking the oath of office, may sit in a
President until the issue has been resolved. There is nothing in the US
Constitution that prohibits a President and VP being of different
parties. Yes, it's possible (though not likely) to have Gore or Bush as
President, with the "other" party candidate being the VP.

This may be a "sticky" point, depending on the judicial activism of
SCOTUS, since some may retire, and wish to leave their own 'legacy',
this could go on for some time.

> If the ballots disappear?
>
Depending on "when" they 'disappear', an investigation may begin, and
criminal charges may be filed. If not completed by Dec 18th, see my
first respone to your question..

See the post, "Power Grab - Election",and the Constitution's Amendments,
Articles XII and XX (Section 3):
http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Amend.html

--
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)

dmeyer...@panix.com

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
s...@ultranet.com writes:

> If the ballots are finally counted before Jan 20 and Gore has more?

> If the ballots are finally counted after Jan 20 and Gore has more?

> If the ballots disappear?

Define "count".

They've all _been_ counted at least twice already.
By machines.

There are obviously some reasonable questions about
the objectivity of the "hand" counts. Are they
necessarily better or just different?

--d

--
dme...@panix.com

Ron Newman

unread,
Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
to
In article <90955h$t7m$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Info Junkie <bond...@ifx.net> wrote:

> This will be irrelevant after Dec 18th when the Electoral College votes
> have been counted, by VP Gore, as President of the Senate.

Not correct -- the electors vote on December 18th but the votes are
not counted until January 6 (or maybe January 5, if Congress changes
the date)

--
Ron Newman rne...@thecia.net
http://www2.thecia.net/users/rnewman/

Info Junkie

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
In article <rnewman-0112...@ppp39-251.thecia.net>,

rne...@thecia.net (Ron Newman) wrote:
> In article <90955h$t7m$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Info Junkie
<bond...@ifx.net> wrote:
>
> > This will be irrelevant after Dec 18th when the Electoral College
> > votes have been counted, by VP Gore, as President of the Senate.
>
> Not correct -- the electors vote on December 18th but the votes are
> not counted until January 6 (or maybe January 5, if Congress changes
> the date)
>
I stand corrected. Your correction is what I meant to type, and did not.
No excuse on my part.

Congress may change the date, but not before Jan. 6th, as the NEW
Congress will not have been sworn in, and it's the new Congress must be
in place, in the event of a tie Electoral College vote.

Ron Newman

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
In article <90b3lg$9bg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Info Junkie <bond...@ifx.net> wrote:

> > Not correct -- the electors vote on December 18th but the votes are
> > not counted until January 6 (or maybe January 5, if Congress changes
> > the date)
> >
> I stand corrected. Your correction is what I meant to type, and did not.
> No excuse on my part.
>
> Congress may change the date, but not before Jan. 6th, as the NEW
> Congress will not have been sworn in, and it's the new Congress must be
> in place, in the event of a tie Electoral College vote.

The NEW Congress's term starts at noon on January 3rd.
The 20th Amendment states this explicitly.

Info Junkie

unread,
Dec 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/2/00
to
In article <rnewman-0212...@ppp225-102.thecia.net>,

rne...@thecia.net (Ron Newman) wrote:
> In article <90b3lg$9bg$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, Info Junkie
<bond...@ifx.net> wrote:
>
"snip"

> > Congress may change the date, but not before Jan. 6th, as the NEW
> > Congress will not have been sworn in, and it's the new Congress must
> > be in place, in the event of a tie Electoral College vote.
>
> The NEW Congress's term starts at noon on January 3rd.
> The 20th Amendment states this explicitly.
>

Caught me again in error, and again, no excuse, as I was reading the US
Code, not the Amendments. While the new Congress may be sworn in on Jan
3rd, they'll currently not vote until Jan 9th; US Code, Title 3, Chapter
1, Sec. 15: "Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January
succeeding every meeting of the electors.", modified by Pub. L. 104-296,
Sec. 2, Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3558, provided that: "The meeting of
the Senate and House of Representatives to be held in January 1997
pursuant to section 15 of title 3, United States Code, to count the
electoral votes for President and Vice President cast by the electors in
December 1996 shall be held on January 9, 1997 (rather than on the date
specified in the first sentence of that section)."

http://resource.lawlinks.com/Content/Legal_Research/US_code/Title_03/tit
le_03_01.htm#Sec. 15

1.Changed from Jan 7th to Jan 6th; 1985, Pub. L. 98-456, 98 Stat. 1748
2.Changed from Jan 6th to Jan 4th, 1989, Pub. L. 100-646,102 Stat. 3341
3.Changed from Jan 4th to Jan 9th, 1997, Pub. L. 98-456, 110 Stat. 3558

All of the above changes were applied by the "outgoing" Congress, prior
to early November of the preceding year. The odds it'll be changed prior
to their Christmas recess are slim. Recent history is they would've
adjourned by now. Yet the chance to "guess" (for a win at $50.00) at
when they'll adjourn has passed :-(
http://www.asha.org/governmental_affairs/update_august_2000.htm#contest
ical

It appears the media hasn't "picked up" on the fact that currently, it
looks like the vote will be on Jan 9th, 2001. Neither had I.

Stephen Z Stein

unread,
Dec 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/3/00
to

dmeyer...@panix.com wrote:

> s...@ultranet.com writes:
>
> > If the ballots are finally counted before Jan 20 and Gore has more?
> > If the ballots are finally counted after Jan 20 and Gore has more?
> > If the ballots disappear?
>
> Define "count".
>
> They've all _been_ counted at least twice already.
> By machines.

But the machines do not count every valid vote. There's a built-in bias
in the machines to NOT count a vote, if it's not absolutely clear to the
machine. (This assumes there are no defects in the machines, some of
which are very old.) As has been discussed ad nauseum, if the voter
punches the card and the chad does not fully dislodge, this is certainly
a vote, but the machine may not count it. Now, standards regarding
dimples in punchcards are subject to debate and adjudication either by
state law or by the state courts. I don't necessarily agree that a
dimpled chad designates a vote, but some state's laws and most courts
that I've heard of (including the Mass. 10th congressional district)
allow consideration of dimpled marks on ballots.

So, count the votes, by hand. I don't understand why there's even a
question about this.

> There are obviously some reasonable questions about
> the objectivity of the "hand" counts. Are they
> necessarily better or just different?

Yes, hand counts are necessary for machines that are known to have high
error rates. Now, the definition of "high error rate" depends on the
closeness of the election, and the closeness of this one dictates that
almost any machine error rate is high enough to require a recount.

- Steve Stein

Info Junkie

unread,
Dec 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/3/00
to
In article <3A2A6F59...@ultranet.com>,
s...@ultranet.com wrote:

"snip"

> > Define "count".
> >
> > They've all _been_ counted at least twice already.
> > By machines.
>
> But the machines do not count every valid vote.

Do I find the definition of "valid" in the same dictionary as what "is"
is? Valid is defined in the law...extended by the Florida Supreme Court
(now kicking themselves, I'll suspect), and certfied by the Secretary of
State, with the Certificate of Ascertainment signed by the Governor, and
provided, by law, to NARA.

> There's a built-in bias in the machines to NOT count a vote, if it's
> not absolutely clear to the machine.

A machine has "built-in bias"? As in "encouraging one outcome or answer
over others"? (http://m-w.com) Is that like slot machines in Las Vegas?
Feel free to provide evidence of your assertion.

> (This assumes there are no defects in the machines, some of which are
> very old.)

This statement may be applied to some of the voters as well :-)

> As has been discussed ad nauseum, if the voter punches the card and
> the chad does not fully dislodge, this is certainly a vote, but the
> machine may not count it.

While I agree it has been overly discussed, this is where it becomes
subjective to argument, as no one may claim to KNOW the INTENT of the
voter, dimpled or not, and as the Illinois Supreme Court case, used
erroneously by the Gore team as reference, pointed out.

> Now, standards regarding dimples in punchcards are subject to debate
> and adjudication either by state law or by the state courts.

Agreed. However, these standards may be applied by the individual state
courts BEFORE the election, an if there was REAL concern over this, it
could have been resolved previously by the state legislature. This
doesn't seem to be a real issue in previous elections, two or even four
years ago, but now is in doubt? Only by the Gore campaign.

> I don't necessarily agree that a dimpled chad designates a vote, but
> some state's laws and most courts that I've heard of (including the
> Mass. 10th congressional district) allow consideration of dimpled
> marks on ballots.
>

Yet the Illinois court ruling is what Gore's attorney, Mr. Bois,
referred to, and the Florida Supreme Court used in it's ruling as a
reference, to extend the deadline and allow continuing hand counts. Mr.
Bois' appears to be avoiding the issue that he provided false evidence
to the court on this, and under the law, is required to make amends, in
writing. Why would that be?

> So, count the votes, by hand. I don't understand why there's even a
> question about this.
>

Time is the factor. The electorate must be certified prior to Dec 12th,
and has been completed by the Certificate of Ascertainment having been
submitted to NARA. If "fairness" is the issue, then ALL Florida's
counties must be counted, not just those that are heavily registered as
democratic counties. Time does not allow for this to occur, hence the
reason for machines in the first place, i.e., faster, less prone to
human error, and more econmical. Yet the machines, like a disagreeing
non-democrat, have been subjected to being discredited by the Gore team.

> > There are obviously some reasonable questions about
> > the objectivity of the "hand" counts. Are they
> > necessarily better or just different?
>
> Yes, hand counts are necessary for machines that are known to have
> high error rates. Now, the definition of "high error rate" depends on
> the closeness of the election, and the closeness of this one dictates
> that almost any machine error rate is high enough to require a
> recount.
>

If machines are KNOWN to have "high error rates", why were they used?
Those "known" machines have been documented and it's been agreed they
will be used, even though they've been testing to have "high error
rates", by both parties, correct?.

Sorry, but I failed to find any reference that the 'closeness of the
election' definition of "high error rates" in any dictionary I've seen.

Equipment I've dealt with has, in it's original documentation from the
vendor, and subsequent testing by the end using purchaser, results show
what is considered "acceptable" error rates.

Hence my requests to you (1st request):
1. Show documentation that shows, under testing, "built-in bias" by the
current machines.

2. Show where both parties have agreed to a list of known machines with
"high error rates", and the justification for using them regardless of
their "defects".

3. Show documentation that includes "closeness of the election" as one
of the criteria for testing on the current machines from the vendor
and/or end using purchaser.

4. Show documentation that includes "closeness of the election" as one
of the criteria for testing on the machines KNOWN to have "high error
rates".

5. Show documentation that shows the current machines, without defects,
have HIGHER "error rates" than hand counted ballots.

I doubt you'll honor my requests, as these items may not exist, yet are
part of the nonsensical "spin" we continue to hear.

Stephen Z Stein

unread,
Dec 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/4/00
to
Info Junkie wrote:

> In article <3A2A6F59...@ultranet.com>,
> s...@ultranet.com wrote:
>
> "snip"
>
> > > Define "count".
> > >
> > > They've all _been_ counted at least twice already.
> > > By machines.
> >
> > But the machines do not count every valid vote.
>
> Do I find the definition of "valid" in the same dictionary as what "is"
> is? Valid is defined in the law...extended by the Florida Supreme Court
> (now kicking themselves, I'll suspect), and certfied by the Secretary of
> State, with the Certificate of Ascertainment signed by the Governor, and
> provided, by law, to NARA.

You are correct. The definition of "valid vote" is ultimately left to the
courts. I have found few if any of the myriad courts' decisions in this
affair that I disagree with. The Palm Beach court's decision on dimpled
chads was very carefully drawn (note the wording of "must consider" dimpled
ballots, as opposed to "must count").

> > There's a built-in bias in the machines to NOT count a vote, if it's
> > not absolutely clear to the machine.
>
> A machine has "built-in bias"? As in "encouraging one outcome or answer
> over others"? (http://m-w.com)

Exactly. Card reading machines prefer an answer of "no vote", unless it
detects evidence that a vote has been cast. The machines must be biased in
this way to prevent "false positives", which would create spurious
"over-votes". I never hear any controversy regarding "over-votes"
(discounting the "confusion" stories over the butterfly ballot, which are
not at issue here, at least not for me), so I draw the logical conclusion
that there are no such spurious "over-votes". The only things at issue are
"under-votes", so I conclude that there must be a "no vote" bias.

> > As has been discussed ad nauseum, if the voter punches the card and
> > the chad does not fully dislodge, this is certainly a vote, but the
> > machine may not count it.
>
> While I agree it has been overly discussed, this is where it becomes
> subjective to argument, as no one may claim to KNOW the INTENT of the
> voter, dimpled or not, and as the Illinois Supreme Court case, used
> erroneously by the Gore team as reference, pointed out.

Here I'm only refering to partially dislodged chads, not dimples. If a
chad is dislodged only on the corners of one side (so that it forms
something like a little "door"), I think there can be little doubt as to
the intent of the voter, but there's only a 50-50 chance that the vote may
be counted by the machine.

> > Now, standards regarding dimples in punchcards are subject to debate
> > and adjudication either by state law or by the state courts.
>
> Agreed. However, these standards may be applied by the individual state
> courts BEFORE the election,

Can you cite any evidence for this assertion? There have been examples to
the contrary (the Delahunt-Johnston 1996 Democratic Massachusetts
congressional primary, adjudicated by a Republican-appointed judge, see Ron
Newman's reposts of the Boston Globe's coverage.
(http://x61.deja.com/[ST_rn=ps]/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=693937305.1&mhitnum=0&CONTEXT=975988125.447676419,
and following).

The standards used to judge the ballots in the recount were NOT in place
before the election.

> an if there was REAL concern over this, it
> could have been resolved previously by the state legislature.

But if the legislature has been silent on the issue, what is the election
board to do? Are there any states that have decided this legislatively
(besides Texas :-)?

> This
> doesn't seem to be a real issue in previous elections, two or even four
> years ago, but now is in doubt? Only by the Gore campaign.

It's been a real issue in PLENTY of past elections. (Delahunt-Johnston
again.) Just not presidential ones, AFAIK.

> > I don't necessarily agree that a dimpled chad designates a vote, but
> > some state's laws and most courts that I've heard of (including the
> > Mass. 10th congressional district) allow consideration of dimpled
> > marks on ballots.
> >
> Yet the Illinois court ruling is what Gore's attorney, Mr. Bois,
> referred to, and the Florida Supreme Court used in it's ruling as a
> reference, to extend the deadline and allow continuing hand counts. Mr.
> Bois' appears to be avoiding the issue that he provided false evidence
> to the court on this, and under the law, is required to make amends, in
> writing. Why would that be?

AFAIK, the alleged false statements had to do with the acceptability of
dimpled ballots in Illinois. I'm certain that Boies will cite a reason for
this representation if required. It will probably be chalked up to
"staffer error". I don't know if the judge will buy it. I've got an idea
that you won't. :-)

What's the Florida law that requires him to make amends, and what does the
law require?
Where in its decision did the Florida Supreme Court rely on the Boies's
dimpled ballots representation?

> > So, count the votes, by hand. I don't understand why there's even a
> > question about this.
> >
> Time is the factor. The electorate must be certified prior to Dec 12th,
> and has been completed by the Certificate of Ascertainment having been
> submitted to NARA. If "fairness" is the issue, then ALL Florida's
> counties must be counted, not just those that are heavily registered as
> democratic counties.

I agree, and I've stated as much since a few days after the election. So,
apparently, does the Florida court agree, for the purpose of a contest of
the election results. But I feel strongly that the time it would take to
recount the entire state would be worth it for the sake of "legitimacy".

> > > There are obviously some reasonable questions about
> > > the objectivity of the "hand" counts. Are they
> > > necessarily better or just different?
> >
> > Yes, hand counts are necessary for machines that are known to have
> > high error rates. Now, the definition of "high error rate" depends on
> > the closeness of the election, and the closeness of this one dictates
> > that almost any machine error rate is high enough to require a
> > recount.
> >
> If machines are KNOWN to have "high error rates", why were they used?

Economics, I'd guess. It's only when a train wreck occurs that the problem
comes to light. Punch card voting systems are now outlawed in
Massachusetts, because of the Delahunt-Johnston train wreck.

Like I said, the definition of "high error rate" depends on the closeness
of the election. If the election is 60-40, no one will care about a 1%
error rate in the machines. But if the election is within 600 votes out of
6 million cast, an error rate of 1% is HUGE. The error rate for machine
counted ballots in this case seems to be about 1 in 1000 (off the top of my
head, but I think it's the right order of magnitude), if dimpled ballots
are not considered votes. 0.1% is not "high" in an absolute sense, and is
almost never significant, but the Florida election is within 0.01%.

> Those "known" machines have been documented and it's been agreed they
> will be used, even though they've been testing to have "high error
> rates", by both parties, correct?.
>
> Sorry, but I failed to find any reference that the 'closeness of the
> election' definition of "high error rates" in any dictionary I've seen.

Get your head out of your dictionary and use it.

> Equipment I've dealt with has, in it's original documentation from the
> vendor, and subsequent testing by the end using purchaser, results show
> what is considered "acceptable" error rates.

Cite? What error rates are acceptable? If the "true" margin of the
Florida election were 10 votes, would the machines get it right?

> Hence my requests to you (1st request):
> 1. Show documentation that shows, under testing, "built-in bias" by the
> current machines.

I have no documentation. Just common sense. False positive readings are
less acceptable than false negatives - "over-votes" aren't scutinized,
"under-votes" are.

> 2. Show where both parties have agreed to a list of known machines with
> "high error rates", and the justification for using them regardless of
> their "defects".

I have no documentation. Why is this relevant?


> 3. Show documentation that includes "closeness of the election" as one

> of the criteria for testing on the current machines from the vendor
> and/or end using purchaser.

I have no documentation. Why is this relevant?


> 4. Show documentation that includes "closeness of the election" as one
> of the criteria for testing on the machines KNOWN to have "high error
> rates".

I have no documentation. Why is this relevant?

> 5. Show documentation that shows the current machines, without defects,
> have HIGHER "error rates" than hand counted ballots.

It was the sworn testimony of the defendant's witness John Ahmann, a
designer of the voting machines, that a hand count would be more accurate
than the machine count.

From the Salon article
(http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/12/03/leon_county/index.html)
on his testimony:
In his final question, Zack asks him about the need for manual recounts
after elections "when you have hanging chads...lots of them because
machines aren't tearing them off correctly."

To which Ahmann replies, "You need either re-inspection or manual recount,
if you have that situation, yes, you do."

> I doubt you'll honor my requests, as these items may not exist, yet are
> part of the nonsensical "spin" we continue to hear.

I'm not a voting machine manufacturer or a purchaser, so, no, I don't have
the documentation. I think it's more than "spin", though, to claim that
hand counts are more accurate than punch-card ballot machine counts. Up
until today's ruling, I thought it was accepted as fact by court decisions
and, in some cases, law.

As for today's Tallahassee decision, I think the judge may have erred in
ruling there was no statistical basis for the contest to continue.
(Although, to be fair, he didn't say exactly that. He said the plaintiff
failed to prove it, and he may have been correct). I agree with the
judge's comments with regard to the scope of the contest - it would be
unfair to count only the ballots that were contested. Gore should have
contested the entire state.

- Steve Stein


Info Junkie

unread,
Dec 6, 2000, 7:45:43 PM12/6/00
to
In article <3A2C6A0B...@ultranet.com>,

s...@ultranet.com wrote:
> Info Junkie wrote:
>
> > In article <3A2A6F59...@ultranet.com>,
> > s...@ultranet.com wrote:
> >
"snip"
>
"snip"

> > Agreed. However, these standards may be applied by the individual
> > state courts BEFORE the election,
>
> Can you cite any evidence for this assertion? There have been
> examples to the contrary (the Delahunt-Johnston 1996 Democratic
> Massachusetts congressional primary, adjudicated by a
> Republican-appointed judge, see Ron Newman's reposts of the Boston
> Globe's coverage.
>
(http://x61.deja.com/[ST_rn=ps]/threadmsg_ct.xp?AN=693937305.1&mhitnum=0
&CONTEXT=975988125.447676419, and following).
>

I should've added IMO to my comment above, it's pretty obvious NOT to
change the name of the game after it's been played. Final standards
should NOT be left up to the courts, rather the legislature, as was
noted by the recent opinion of SCOTUS; in
http://a311.g.akamai.net/f/311/2656/1h/www.flcourts.org/sct/sctdocs/ops/
sc00-2346cor.pdf

> The standards used to judge the ballots in the recount were NOT in
> place before the election.
>

Neither were they in place in 1998 nor 1996, in Florida.

> > an if there was REAL concern over this, it
> > could have been resolved previously by the state legislature.
>
> But if the legislature has been silent on the issue, what is the
> election board to do? Are there any states that have decided this
> legislatively (besides Texas :-)?
>

Then the people need to make it an issue before the election, including
the election board using the local media to raise the issue to the
forefront. While nothing is perfect, I suspect it IS a big issue for the
legislature NOW ;-) Again, you don't change the game AFTER it's been
played.

> > This doesn't seem to be a real issue in previous elections, two or
> > even four years ago, but now is in doubt? Only by the Gore campaign.
>
> It's been a real issue in PLENTY of past elections.(Delahunt-Johnston
> again.) Just not presidential ones, AFAIK.

Evidently Floridians, elections committee included, didn't feel it a big
enough issue previously.

(snipped to save b/w)

> > Yet the Illinois court ruling is what Gore's attorney, Mr. Bois,
> > referred to, and the Florida Supreme Court used in it's ruling as a
> > reference, to extend the deadline and allow continuing hand counts.
> > Mr. Bois' appears to be avoiding the issue that he provided false
> > evidence to the court on this, and under the law, is required to
> > make amends, in writing. Why would that be?
>
> AFAIK, the alleged false statements had to do with the acceptability
> of dimpled ballots in Illinois. I'm certain that Boies will cite a
> reason for this representation if required. It will probably be
> chalked up to "staffer error". I don't know if the judge will buy it.
> I've got an idea that you won't. :-)
>

Regardless, the affidavit originally sent was revised and resent to the
Gore lawyers.

> What's the Florida law that requires him to make amends, and what does
> the law require?

I'll look for the cite, but believe this is in accordance with the Bar
Assoc. not a Florida law.

> Where in its decision did the Florida Supreme Court rely on the
> Boies's dimpled ballots representation?
>

http://a311.g.akamai.net/f/311/2656/1h/www.flcourts.org/sct/sctdocs/ops/
sc00-2346cor.pdf

While Gore's lawyers also cited Delahunt-Johnston, but as SCOTUS stated:
"that there is considerable uncertainty as to the precise grounds for
the (Florida SC's) decision." Also, "If the state legislature has
provided for final determination of contests or controversies by a law
made prior to election day, that determination shall be conclusive
if made at least six days prior to said time of meeting of the
electors."

http://a311.g.akamai.net/f/311/2656/1h/www.flcourts.org/pubinfo/election
/00-2346usscopinion.pdf

> > > So, count the votes, by hand. I don't understand why there's even
> > > a question about this.
> > >
> > Time is the factor. The electorate must be certified prior to Dec
> > 12th, and has been completed by the Certificate of Ascertainment
> > having been submitted to NARA. If "fairness" is the issue, then ALL
> > Florida's counties must be counted, not just those that are heavily
> > registered as democratic counties.
>
> I agree, and I've stated as much since a few days after the election.
> So, apparently, does the Florida court agree, for the purpose of a
> contest of the election results. But I feel strongly that the time
> it would take to recount the entire state would be worth it for the
> sake of "legitimacy".

'Legitimacy'? Feel feel to cite a perfect count of ALL votes in any
national and/or state election. The number of votes undercounted,
overcounted, thrown out in ALL past national elections? It's be
statistician's nightmare to determine. Are ALL of those without
'legitimacy'? This word is becoming more inane every day, based on the
number of times it's thrown around in the press.


>
> > > > There are obviously some reasonable questions about
> > > > the objectivity of the "hand" counts. Are they
> > > > necessarily better or just different?
> > >
> > > Yes, hand counts are necessary for machines that are known to have
> > > high error rates. Now, the definition of "high error rate"
> > > depends on the closeness of the election, and the closeness of
> > > this one dictates that almost any machine error rate is high
> > > enough to require a recount.
> > >
> > If machines are KNOWN to have "high error rates", why were they
> > used?
>
> Economics, I'd guess. It's only when a train wreck occurs that the
> problem comes to light. Punch card voting systems are now outlawed in
> Massachusetts, because of the Delahunt-Johnston train wreck.
>

Here you seem to throw out the common sense you mention below. If KNOWN
to be defective, why would anyone use it? How would economics make it
more viable than hand counts in this case? Why not replace the defective
machines with known good ones?

> Like I said, the definition of "high error rate" depends on the
> closeness of the election. If the election is 60-40, no one will care
> about a 1% error rate in the machines. But if the election is within
> 600 votes out of 6 million cast, an error rate of 1% is HUGE. The
> error rate for machine counted ballots in this case seems to be about
> 1 in 1000 (off the top of my head, but I think it's the right order of
> magnitude), if dimpled ballots are not considered votes. 0.1% is not
> "high" in an absolute sense, and is almost never significant, but the
> Florida election is within 0.01%.
>

If a KNOWN or suspected defect exists in a voting machine, you either
test it, or replace it with a known good one.

Your concept is valid, if you're only referring to a single machine that
was used for all 6 million votes. We both know this wasn't the case.

> > Those "known" machines have been documented and it's been agreed
> > they will be used, even though they've been testing to have "high
> > error rates", by both parties, correct?.
> >
> > Sorry, but I failed to find any reference that the 'closeness of the
> > election' definition of "high error rates" in any dictionary I've
> > seen.
>
> Get your head out of your dictionary and use it.
>

I did, and found your example citing percentages 'wanting' for validity.

> > Equipment I've dealt with has, in it's original documentation from
> > the vendor, and subsequent testing by the end using purchaser,
> > results show what is considered "acceptable" error rates.
>
> Cite? What error rates are acceptable? If the "true" margin of the
> Florida election were 10 votes, would the machines get it right?
>

Cite what? When purchasing a piece of equipment, even for your own
house, do you read the installation instructions to see if it'll work in
your home? If you buy a refrigerator that is 8', and the space you have
is 7'11', shouldn't you know that before you buy it? Get with the
election commttee and find out what the "acceptable rates" are for the
machines they provided the public to use.

> > Hence my requests to you (1st request):
> > 1. Show documentation that shows, under testing, "built-in bias" by
> > the current machines.
>
> I have no documentation. Just common sense. False positive readings
> are less acceptable than false negatives - "over-votes" aren't
> scutinized, "under-votes" are.
>

You made the assertion, you provide the evidence.

> > 2. Show where both parties have agreed to a list of known machines
> > with "high error rates", and the justification for using them
> > regardless of their "defects".
>
> I have no documentation. Why is this relevant?
>

You made the assertion, you provide the evidence.

> > 3. Show documentation that includes "closeness of the election" as
> > one of the criteria for testing on the current machines from the
> > vendor and/or end using purchaser.
>
> I have no documentation. Why is this relevant?
>

You made the assertion, you provide the evidence.

> > 4. Show documentation that includes "closeness of the election" as
> > one of the criteria for testing on the machines KNOWN to have "high
> > error rates".
>
> I have no documentation. Why is this relevant?
>

You made the assertion, you provide the evidence.

> > 5. Show documentation that shows the current machines, without
> > defects, have HIGHER "error rates" than hand counted ballots.
>
> It was the sworn testimony of the defendant's witness John Ahmann, a
> designer of the voting machines, that a hand count would be more
> accurate than the machine count.
>
> From the Salon article
>
(http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/12/03/leon_county/index.html
)
> on his testimony: In his final question, Zack asks him about the need
> for manual recounts after elections "when you have hanging chads
...lots of them because machines aren't tearing them off correctly."
>
> To which Ahmann replies, "You need either re-inspection or manual
> recount, if you have that situation, yes, you do."
>

"IF if you have that situation", yet, you left out the continuing
testimony: "'With a great deal of assurance I can guarantee you there
isn't going to be a buildup under the No. 5 hole,' Ahmann says,
referring to the location of the Gore ticket on the Palm Beach County
ballot.'

AND "If the devices weren't cleaned for "eight to 10 years it might not
cause any problem," Ahmann says.'

> > I doubt you'll honor my requests, as these items may not exist, yet
> > are part of the nonsensical "spin" we continue to hear.
>
> I'm not a voting machine manufacturer or a purchaser, so, no, I don't
> have the documentation. I think it's more than "spin", though, to
> claim that hand counts are more accurate than punch-card ballot
> machine counts. Up until today's ruling, I thought it was accepted as
> fact by court decisions and, in some cases, law.

What then, would be the point of buying the machine, if they not at
LEAST as accurate, faster and more economical than a hand count?


>
> As for today's Tallahassee decision, I think the judge may have erred
> in ruling there was no statistical basis for the contest to continue.
> (Although, to be fair, he didn't say exactly that. He said the
> plaintiff failed to prove it, and he may have been correct). I agree
> with the judge's comments with regard to the scope of the contest - it
> would be unfair to count only the ballots that were contested. Gore
> should have contested the entire state.
>

If I based these issues as a "big deal", why not go further and hand
count ALL fifty states? THAT would be nonsensical, yet provide more
"fairness". There has never been a perfect count at the state or
national level.

There are people that can not or will not read nor understand
instructions, nor ask for assitance, even when available. If they refuse
to meet this minimum criteria provided, then maybe they don't have the
common sense needed to vote the right person in for the job. Then the
state legislature's should revisit this issue.

"Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and every
day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature
is winning." -Albert Einstein

Stephen Stein

unread,
Dec 11, 2000, 10:33:13 AM12/11/00
to

<massive snips to save bandwidth>

Info Junkie wrote:

[on standards used to judge ballots]

> Then the people need to make it an issue before the election, including
> the election board using the local media to raise the issue to the
> forefront. While nothing is perfect, I suspect it IS a big issue for the
> legislature NOW ;-) Again, you don't change the game AFTER it's been
> played.

Well, it seems if you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. The
Florida Supreme Court has not set a standard for judging ballots, because
one doesn't exist in the Florida laws, and they don't want to make new
law. So they leave the question of standards up to the local canvassing
boards (not changing the existing rules of the game, however murky they may
be). But now, there's no standards - they can't do that because of equal
protection arguments.

So, does this mean there can't be a manual recount at all? (But THAT's
changing the rules, too. The Florida laws specifically say that there CAN
be a manual recount.)

And yes, somehow I think this will be a big issue in Florida and elsewhere.
:-)

[On Boies's representation of testimony in the Illinois case]

> s...@ultranet.com wrote

> > Where in its decision did the Florida Supreme Court rely on the
> > Boies's dimpled ballots representation?
> >
> http://a311.g.akamai.net/f/311/2656/1h/www.flcourts.org/sct/sctdocs/ops/
> sc00-2346cor.pdf

I've read this a couple of times - I see the Fla SC quoting the Illinois
decision regarding "intent of the voter", but nothing about the testimony
that Boies alledgedly misrepresented.

BTW, did you see Russert vs. Boies on Sunday? They discussed this issue,
and Boies did NOT lay it off on staffer error. Rather, he claimed that the
charges of misrepresentation leveled against him were based on
misunderstandings of the situation (which he claims involved a
doubly-amended affidavit). I haven't followed all the twists of this case,
but I'm sure we'll hear more after the main event is settled.

[on the legitimacy of ballot counts:]

> 'Legitimacy'? Feel feel to cite a perfect count of ALL votes in any
> national and/or state election. The number of votes undercounted,
> overcounted, thrown out in ALL past national elections? It's be
> statistician's nightmare to determine. Are ALL of those without
> 'legitimacy'?

I agree that the "right" answer may not be knowable in this case. But
don't go overboard, here. A large majority of elections results have
margins of victory that are far outside the degree of accuracy of the vote
counting process. Some don't, and many of these results are considered
illegitimate by some fraction of the electorate. Some of these have been
presidential elections.


> > > If machines are KNOWN to have "high error rates", why were they
> > > used?
> >
> > Economics, I'd guess. It's only when a train wreck occurs that the
> > problem comes to light. Punch card voting systems are now outlawed in
> > Massachusetts, because of the Delahunt-Johnston train wreck.
> >
> Here you seem to throw out the common sense you mention below. If KNOWN
> to be defective, why would anyone use it? How would economics make it
> more viable than hand counts in this case? Why not replace the defective
> machines with known good ones?

All good questions. Since I wrote the "economics" answer, I heard a more
plausible one. The demand for automated counting machines is driven by
sheer population. When a district gets too large to count by hand (or by
lever-style voting machinery), the district buys the latest and greatest
automated machinery available. For the most populous areas in Florida,
this happened in the 60s-70s. And until now, there's been no reason to
replace them.

BTW, I have never claimed the machines are "defective". I only question
their margin of error. As a tool of measurement, the machines are adequate
to the task unless the margin of victory is small enough to fall within the
machine's margin of error.

By the way, doesn't Florida's use of different voting machinery in
different districts in itself violate the equal-protection clause?

(For an interesting discussion of Florida's voting machinery, see
http://world.std.com/~chase/votingbias.html. Unfortunately, some of the
Orlando Sentinel pages he references have expired!)

[On a source for the assertion that hand counts are more accurate than
machine counts:]

I take your point that that assertion needs inspection, and I have not
(yet) provided much "proof" beyond stating that many laws and counting
procedures require manual recounts of machine-countable ballots. I'm
looking around for machine documentation.

(And I realize that this is NOT the case in Florida law that hand recounts
be granted. As I read Florida law, a candidate can ask for a manual count,
and the canvassing board can just say "no"(!) )

> There are people that can not or will not read nor understand
> instructions, nor ask for assitance, even when available. If they refuse
> to meet this minimum criteria provided, then maybe they don't have the
> common sense needed to vote the right person in for the job. Then the
> state legislature's should revisit this issue.
>
> "Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and every
> day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature
> is winning." -Albert Einstein

In an attempt to research the instructions and procedures that come with
punch card machinery, I had a conversation with our town's Clerk. We used
to use punch-card systems, but all the machines were thrown out a few years
ago. We now use optically scanned ballots. The clerk had tons of
(mis-)voting stories to share. On the ballots we now use, you take a
marker and connect two parts of an arrow, to complete the arrow to point to
the choice you have made. The instructions for voting are (to me)
extremely clear, and no one I know has had problems with it.

In a recent override election (MUCH more serious than a presidential
election!), the margin of the result was smaller than the number of
non-votes, and every non-vote was inspected by hand (and eye). (Note that
this standard would result in MANY more recounts if applied nationally.)

Many voters CIRCLED the arrow, or CIRCLED the "yes" or the "no" or
UNDERLINED their choice, or UNDERLINED the arrow.

I predict there will be LOTS of interface designers designing LOTS of
"foolproof" interfaces in the next year. And I think once again, Einstein
will be proven correct.

- Steve Stein


Elisabeth Riba

unread,
Dec 11, 2000, 2:09:39 PM12/11/00
to
Stephen Stein <s...@ultranet.com> wrote:
>> "Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and every
>> day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature
>> is winning." -Albert Einstein

> I predict there will be LOTS of interface designers designing LOTS of


> "foolproof" interfaces in the next year. And I think once again, Einstein
> will be proven correct.

I think a foolproof ballot is impossible so long as fools keep running for
elective office... :)

--
----------> Elisabeth Anne Riba * l...@osmond-riba.org <----------
"[She] is one of the secret masters of the world: a librarian.
They control information. Don't ever piss one off."
- Spider Robinson, "Callahan Touch"

Ed Foster

unread,
Dec 11, 2000, 2:30:46 PM12/11/00
to
In article <9138pj$8lk$1...@news.panix.com>, Elisabeth Riba
<l...@osmond-riba.org> wrote:

> Stephen Stein <s...@ultranet.com> wrote:
> >> "Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and
> >> every
> >> day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature
> >> is winning." -Albert Einstein
>
> > I predict there will be LOTS of interface designers designing LOTS of
> > "foolproof" interfaces in the next year. And I think once again,
> > Einstein
> > will be proven correct.
>
> I think a foolproof ballot is impossible so long as fools keep running
> for elective office... :)


And as long as fools keep voting for them.

--
erfo...@nospam.MediaOne.net
(remove the word before
MediaOne.net to reply)

Adam Kippes

unread,
Dec 11, 2000, 6:35:05 PM12/11/00
to
In <9138pj$8lk$1...@news.panix.com>, Elisabeth Riba wrote:

> I think a foolproof ballot is impossible so long as fools keep running for
> elective office

1. That doesn't make sense.
2. The fools were/are the ones who can't handle the ballots.

-- AK

--
adam....@pobox.com
PGP keys available from servers

Adam Kippes

unread,
Dec 11, 2000, 6:35:42 PM12/11/00
to
In <erfoster-A9021E...@news.ne.mediaone.net>, Ed Foster
wrote:

> And as long as fools keep voting for them.

Or, allegedly, think they are voting for them.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages