[EM] Dave Ketchum: Handcounts

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sat Apr 28 19:48:44 PDT 2012

Computers do well at performing the tasks they are properly told to  
perform - better than humans given the same directions. Thus it would  
make sense to direct the computers and expect them to do what is  
needed accurately.

Still, we sometimes wonder exactly what the computers have been told  
to do.

I keep remembering a case where it took me some studying to sort out  
how a computer program seemed to perform magic:

Got a diskette and was told it could not be copied - because the owner  
of the program wanted to get paid for each new diskette the program  
was copied to.

Curious, though not intending theft, I copied all the records to  
another diskette and tried running it.

New diskette knew it was not an original, and refused to run.  Looked  
at records on the diskette - there were no instructions in the copied  
records to do such a test - anyway, presumably the records had been  
copied accurately, so their content could not indicate this was a copy.

Look more carefully - there was an odd collection of odd words.  Turns  
out that, when it was time to check, this collection became  
instructions to look at the noise next to a particular record on the  
diskette and see if the "password" was there, as it would be on the  
original.  After making the test, put those instructions back into  
their hidden form.

Dave Ketchum

On Apr 28, 2012, at 9:28 PM, Paul Kislanko wrote:

> That wasn’t Dave who said that, it was me.
> My point was that what is it you’re going to count by hand? The tape  
> printed out by the machine I voted on?
> If I didn’t hand-fill-out a ballot you’ve no way to know whether the  
> ballots you’re counting by hand match what I told the machine was my  
> vote.
> From: election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com [mailto:election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com 
> ] On Behalf Of Michael Ossipoff
> Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:55 PM
> To: election-methods at electorama.com
> Subject: [EM] Dave Ketchum: Handcounts
> Dave:
> You said:
> And that gets to why I think  "hand counting" is no longer useful as
> "verification" - what is there to "hand count" when there are no paper
> ballots except those printed by the machines that we're auditing?
> [endquote]
> Handcounting was used even before there were voting machines!
> I kid you not.
> Mike Ossipoff
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