Morning Ed: Politics {2016.10.04.T}

The creator of Pepe the Frog is voting Hillary and Katy Perry and Madonna are… whatever.

Toby Young is skeptical that a broad-left anti-Tory coalition is going to succeed. Which would be good for the Tories, because they may be heading into a civil war over Brexit.

Go, Maine, go! Next up, primaries!

Terrell Jermaine Starr explains how elderly black women may put Hillary Clinton in office.

Hillary Clinton is going after my vote so hard I am getting to the point that I would feel bad not giving to her.

See, computerized voting never actually seemed like a good idea to me.

Given that it’s one of the Trumpiest states in the country, Democrats holding the governorship of West Virginia would be quite the accomplishment.

I haven’t dismissed any friendships, or had any friends dismiss me, over Trump support. But there are some relationships that aren’t going to be the same.


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63 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Politics {2016.10.04.T}

  1. Katy Perry: I’d vote for naked Katy Perry! Confession: I’d vote for any reasonably attractive naked woman for Pres if they campaigned and visited my door. (Nicole Kidman Pleaaaaaase! or Emma Stone.)

    Dismissed friendships: I wouldn’t call a bunch of DC insiders who work together “friends”. Real friends don’t shaft each other like that over supporting a candidate. Now, being in the DC insider’s club is different. If you’re in the game you play to win and punish those who side against you, which is what this was all about. Getting screwed is expected, or should be, and I don’t have any sympathy. However, those who’ve been dismissed have the opportunity, should the wheel turn round, to get some payback-I would expect nothing less, and neither should those that did the original dismissal.

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  2. To err is human; to really foul things up you need a computer.

    I have no idea how the idea of computerized voting came to infect the minds of so many officials. I think the best voting system by far is pieces of paper and pencils, counted by hand, by volunteers, in a process one can come in to watch, and actually understand. The more advanced computers get, the worse they get for election handling – sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable magic, and magic being the last thing you want near your election.

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    • I’m all for paper ballot with scanners, that the voter can feed immediately at the polling place (and thus if it cannot be read, it can be fixed directly by the voter).

      The point is, there is a paper ballot. Recounts are possible. If things go to court, a physical artifact exists to validate the electronic process.

      At the same time, you get fast, fairly accurate results. This is good.

      Best of both worlds.

      I recall after the 2000 mess, Florida wanted electronic voting with no paper record. That was madness.

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      • I don’t think it is the best of both worlds – it’s the best of computer voting, and some of the benefit of purely physical voting, but not its best by a long shot. It’s also not shockingly dreadful the way other computerized voting systems are (and is what my city uses for municipal elections).

        Yes, there’s a paper record, so you can (and must) do randomized manual recounts of some percentage of polling places, which if any fail will trigger the full manual recount of the whole works – and hopefully a serious financial penalty from the voting software vendor. But it’s still putting part of the electoral process into a black box, subject to programming errors, hacking, botched software release control, etc. And, just as importantly, perceived as being subject to those things.

        That is, I think it’s not only important that the voting lead accurately to the given results, but that any citizen can observe all parts of that process and satisfy themselves that it has been the case in this particular election. Even if there are no result-altering bugs in the vote counting software, even if no hackers alter the results in swing ridings, we can’t witness anything that would disprove it to our full satisfaction.

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        • we can’t witness anything that would disprove it to our full satisfaction.

          Doesn’t the full manual recount with that system disprove that? Or do you mean ahead of time? Because even with a full manual initial count, a malicious person could alter things as well.

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          • The full manual count would prove accuracy only if one takes place – which presumably only happens if there’s evidence of inaccuracy in the initial samples. If you manually count a random 2% of polls and find nothing to trigger the full recount, all you really know is that 2% of the polls were accurately counted.

            I mean, Statistical significance, etc. etc., as long as the polls to be recounted are chosen publicly, by a method even non-experts can understand as random (rolling dice on incredibly boring live TV in front of the world’s most bored studio audience maybe).

            But that’s not the same as knowing that every single ballot was counted, in public, by multiple volunteers, using no technology more advanced than eyeglasses and electric light, which you don’t even have to understand to know that they’re not hiding a tricky techy way of fixing the count.

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        • The computer science on this is, iirc, fairly straightforward. You don’t need a full paper trail if you:

          1. Accept a voter’s votes at the kiosk
          2. Print a receipt of that vote as collected on the machine for the voter to verify
          3. Print a receipt of another random voter’s vote as collected on the machine (ID number and positions voted for).
          4. Make available to the public a database of votes with ballot ID (but no name or demographic info) and votes as recorded towards the official results.

          So if your vote is changed, you have paper to prove it. If you throw yours away, there’s no guarantee that someone else won’t have the paper to prove it. And the odds of a meaningful vote-shift going undetected approach zero.

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          • I’d have to think about that some more. Some initial thoughts

            – Providing a receipt does away with the whole ‘secret ballot’ thing. A pretty important consideration.

            – How do you know the receipt printed in 3 was randomly selected? How do you know it was cast by a human?

            – If you’re an early riser, and are the second person to vote on that particular machine, the vote you’re shown is not random, but compromises voter #1’s privacy.

            – How do you know that all the votes shown in 4 were cast by humans and not made up by inscrutable software processes?

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            • Compared to which:

              – all the polling places cardboard boxes are set up in the morning, and checked for emptiness
              – voter’s identity is checked, they are issued a serial numbered ballot, number recorded along with their name
              – they fill out the ballot
              – the serial number piece goes in one box, the vote piece in another
              – everything is counted at the end of voting, by hand.
              – the number of vote parts matches the number of serial number parts
              – no serial number parts are unaccounted for

              There is no specialist knowledge needed to understand the evidence that everything is above board. You know all the votes were cast by humans because they are physical pieces of paper put in previously empty boxes, by humans, before witnesses.

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              • You really shouldn’t link individually identifable voter information to a cast ballot.

                The way we do it here-
                Begining of day
                -verification of empty ballot box, verification of counter index on ballot scanner, verification that tamper seal on ballot scanner thumb drive compartment
                – seperate tablet computers with voter registration lists (hooked up to each other via physical cable, never to internet)
                – vote start form fed through ballot scanner to initialize it.
                Voting process
                – voter goes to registration table, states name (shows ID under current law and court rulings), has name checked off list, handed paper card to give to ballot table worker
                – worker at ballot table takes card hands paper ballot to voter, voter goes to privacy screen to mark ballot
                – voter then goes to ballot scanner, puts ballot in ballot scanner, ballot is tabulated in ballot scanner computer, paper goes into locked bin (directly underneath scanner)
                – voter gets I voted sticker and future voter sticker for their kids.
                End of day-
                -Close out form is fed thru ballot scanner. Ballot scanner produces paper tape of all contest results and total votes cast. The’s are called into the county offices for them to update the website.
                – forms are filled out (by hand) to reconcile ballots cast per ballot scanner with number of voters that showed up per registration computers (they should be equal, also factoring in the ADA machine which is a seperate process)
                – all the paper ballots and forms are packed and sealed with everyone signatures over the seal. The ballot box scanner thumb drive is also taken out and put in a sealed envelope. Everything is then taken to the county offices, where it’s all stored like the Ark of the convenent unless someone wants a recount.

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                • What I’m describing is a two-part ballot paper with a perforated strip, serial number on one part, voter’s choice on the other.

                  Serial number is recorded alongside the voter’s name when they’re given the ballot. Presumably there’s a process for recording if someone wrecks their ballot and needs another one issued, but I’ve never seen how it’s handled.

                  The serial numbers go in one box, the voter’s choice goes in another. The number of papers in the two boxes has to match, and the serial numbers have to be accounted for by voter name – but you can’t re-associate a voter’s choice to the serial number, so the voter’s privacy is preserved

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    • Frankly, I’d be okay with computer voting if and only if — it printed out a paper tally for each vote that was voter readable, that each voter had to verify it (final step) and deposit it, and there was a random audit of, say, 1% of voting precincts each election. (1% of each State’s, not 1% nationally).

      If the little piece of paper doesn’t match the computer records, a much more thorough audit is conducted.

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    • The important thing is that there be a system where we have reason to believe that it *COULD* have been manipulated by one, maybe two, people.

      If it requires 30-40 people to manipulate? That’s good. One of them will eventually blab. If someone believes that a system that requires 30-40 people to manipulate got manipulated, we know that they’re a crank.

      If it only requires one, maybe two?

      That’s enough to undercut the entire system.

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  3. A while ago I mentioned that in the current BridgeGate! tiral both the defense AND the prosecution agreed that Christie knew about the lane closures while they were happening, and how that boded poorly for his future as an un-indicted servant of the public good. Now things have turned even worse for him: Key Bridgegate Witness [Wildstein] Claims Christie Discussed A Cover-Up Plan With Cuomo

    Things don’t look good. As oneof his heroes might say, “he’s going down, down, down, down.”

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