Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Virtual Recount

It apears that control of the United States Senate is going to come down to a recount in Virginia. However, as Avi Rubin points out in his blog, it is simply not possible to conduct a true recount in Virginia:

Virginia uses a plethora of different voting technologies. Just about every major vendor is represented. Most of votes in that state were cast on paperless DREs. There are no ballots to recount. A meaningful recount in Virginia is not possible.

The DRE vendors like to pretend that they can perform recounts. They take the vote totals on the machines and print corresponding ballots, and then count them by hand. Let me give an analogy to demonstrate how silly that is. It would be comical if vendors weren't actually doing it and convincing people that they were performing a recount.

Imagine if you had a word document on your computer, and the document stated some fact. You were not sure if the fact was true. So, to verify the fact, you print the word document, and then you read it out loud and say, "Ah, if that's what it says, then it must be true because I'm looking at a printout." What the vendors are doing is printing out the questionable results and then counting them. Of course they are going to match what was on the machine, but they do not provide an independent count. The so-called recounts of DREs are really just print and count, not RE-count. It is a waste of time...

It is unbelievable that the control of the US senate is coming down to a close race that cannot be recounted, and for which there are no physical ballots. The vendors may come out with their "emperor's clothes" recounts, but the public should understand that these are not really recounts, they are just print and count.

[Other Sources]

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