Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The more you check, the more errors you find.

Freedom to Tinker has a good post by Ed Felten on a discovery by the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project, as reported in Wired.
Election officials in a small county in California discovered by chance last week that the tabulation software they used to tally votes in this year's general election dropped 197 paper ballots from the totals at one precinct. The system's audit log also appears to have deleted any sign that the ballots had ever been recorded.
Yes, the vendor was Premier Election Solutions (formerly known as Diebold), and yes, it was (at least) a software bug that persisted over numerous versions of their system.

Apparently, Diebold/Premier optical scan systems aren't that much more trustworthy than their direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines.

At least they had paper ballots to check against. Making them available on the Web is a brilliant policy stroke.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

The Science of Victory

The US Department of Defense Science & Technology program has released a very effective five-minute video commercial on YouTube, making the case for basic research as a practical necessity, not an optional luxury. The fact that they have a vested interest should not detract from its message.

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