Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread

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  • David Hood, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    The nice lady at our local polling place was quite happy to let me take a picture of the machine they use to scan the ballots

    Like everything in the US, it varies widely with state, but asking is always the best plan.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And One News, with an extremely annoying Jack Tame video. I think his work, like that of all the NZ correspondents, has been pretty good, but he needed a producer to tell him to tone it down on that video.

    And also his attempt at vote suppression - telling people that the election is on the second Tuesday in November - is poor form.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to Paul Brislen,

    thanks for that Paul. This shows just how hard it is for Romney to win. He as to basically wipe the board with the toss up states.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Salon has a story on stealthy updates to Ohio's tabulation software. Some technical confusion in the story reminds me of many about our own #wtfmsd snafu, but it does sound potentially serious if there's write access to the main database in each location.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Jolisa,

    As a stress baker with no time to bake today, all I can bring to this discussion is a copy and paste of how I coped last election. With carbs

    You cast 45 votes? This is election fraud on a massive scale.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Davidson, in reply to David Hood,

    You'd be better off graphing the number of winners as a percentage of entrants by each letter.

    Then ranking by start gate (no horse has ever won from gate 18), jockey's mother's maiden name, country of origin, passport number...

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    From the context, I think they mean they haven’t properly set the touch areas. But “calibration” probably sounds more sciency.

    The touch screens, depending on their quality, go out of whack. What is displayed on the screen (names, ticks etc) isn't linked to the touch screen, except by measurement (oh, you want 100 mm down by 80 mm across, let me look that measurement up on my table, that falls within the range of this person, I'll put a tick in their box).

    I can't remember why they go out of whack, but I think that some touch screens do, and better ones don't.

    So they get regularly recalibrated, I think the process involves the computer putting touch marks on the screen and saying "push here", and then it compares it's results to what it expects and adds plus/minus on x and y axes for all future touches.

    It's a mad system and no where near as reliable or as good as our "here's a piece of paper, go tick the names you want' one. Even more stupid when you consider the advantages that could occur through voting via a computer - a printed out receipt that you can take away to confirm who you voted for, isn't available for most of them.

    If the touch screen reports the wrong measurements then the computer will display the wrong results. Why it would increase the range where it chose one candidate and decrease the range where it responded to another I have no idea.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Why it would increase the range where it chose one candidate and decrease the range where it responded to another I have no idea.

    Exactly

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    (oh, you want 100 mm down by 80 mm across, let me look that measurement up on my table, that falls within the range of this person, I’ll put a tick in their box

    I wonder what the code looks like....

    IF:: 100,80 THEN:: "Obama"
    IF NOT:: THEN:: "Romney"
    Rigged or Lazy?
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    I'd very much like to see a technical analysis of an aberrant machine at very least establish a technical corruption and minimise arguments of political corruption.
    Edit: Especially with the reports of late patching.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    Bad story-padding award of the week goes to whoever wrote (on Stuff) that Obama was seeking to become the first Democrat since Bill Clinton to be re-elected. Well, duh!

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Ah doh, yeah. Windows Mobile used to make you touch three points after a cold start. It then uses some sort of least-squaresy thing to calculate the position based on the raw data.

    I'm not sure how modern touch screens deal with this, but my Nexus often gets completely out of kilter and needs a power-cycle to reset. Static buildup?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    What language is that Steve? PL-1?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Tim Michie,

    Especially with the reports of late patching

    As I understand it, the late patching was not on the machines taking the vote. It was on the second stage machines that add up the votes from within an area.
    The Ohio district court has declined to issue an injunction against the software being installed.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews, in reply to Sacha,

    I believe (I read a couple of technical articles on them after the last election, so my memory is fading), it's certainly possible for two points a certain distance apart on the touch screen to get reported closer together (which would have the effect of 'vote obama' getting smaller, as well as the whole thing moving in a particular direction but staying relative to each other.

    However an area not being reported entirely is suspicious to say the least.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to David Hood,

    Thanks David.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    What language is that Steve? PL-1?

    From what I remember it's C- well, C- is what they wrote on my exam paper ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    You'd be better off graphing the number of winners as a percentage of entrants by each letter.

    Then ranking by start gate (no horse has ever won from gate 18), jockey's mother's maiden name, country of origin, passport number...

    Its a f&^king two horse race......... Today's potential winners are the letters O and R.

    A buck each way.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Only if you're talking about the Presidency, which they weren't at the time.

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Miche Campbell,

    Here's a Flash-free Presidential voting map for you all.

    http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president

    Dunedin • Since Feb 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    Bad story-padding award of the week goes to whoever wrote (on Stuff) that Obama was seeking to become the first Democrat since Bill Clinton to be re-elected. Well, duh!

    Brilliant. And not wrong!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    The HuffPo Results page is looking scary, still early days though.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Attachment

    Trivia-wise, Romney is seeking to become the first Republican president since 1928 without a Nixon or Bush on the ticket (or so the Internet says). Which gives me an excuse to post this slide I just scanned in from an impeach Nixon march in 1973.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Except they've coloured in West Virgina wrong. The numbers say Obama is winning it, but they've coloured it Romney, and given Romney the Electoral Votes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Quite apt I thought, what with the horses an' stuff. Red Moon Green Moon or Blue Moon?.
    If Obama wins I think we can be assured that the voting system in the US, however amateur it seems to us civilised people, is reasonably robust. If Romney romps home I think we could safely assume the opposite.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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