[EM] hmmm. Maybe I missed something before SF passed IRV then called it RCV?

Ken B kbearman at isd.net
Mon Jul 3 09:22:15 PDT 2017

On 7/3/2017 12:50 AM, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
> > I was thinking of a smaller election, say a mayoral election in
> > Minneapolis (which we'll have in November). If there's a recount, the
> > Election folks will need to have all the ballots, not just precinct
> > totals, at election HQ. And they will because for every election, after
> > we transmit the precinct totals downtown, some of us election judges
> > deliver the paper ballots to two collection sites. Later, all of them
> > end up at one site.
> okay.  but the issue regarding precinct summability is one of election 
> transparency and decentralization and diffusion of responsibility.  by 
> providing, not as a recount but as a routine election function, the 
> subtotals for each precinct *at* the precinct locations, then the 
> media, the various campaigns, and just any other watchdogs can total 
> up the subtotals themselves.  if the ballot data is carried from the 
> precincts to the central tabulation location via a thumbdrive or some 
> physical instrument, there is no double-checking in the same sense as 
> if the precincts reported their totals at the precinct location to the 
> media and the public.  people might wonder if something fishy has 
> happened after the precinct is closed and this data is opaquely 
> transported from the precinct to the central tabulation location by 
> whatever means.
> with IRV, you need to either bring a thumb drive or some physical 
> instrument (perhaps the voting machine) that has a record of every 
> single ballot.  it needs that to transfer ballots from one virtual 
> pile to another when a candidate is eliminated.  the other possibility 
> is to have subtotals for every possible variation of how a ballot can 
> be marked.  but the number of piles there grows very large when the 
> number of candidates increases beyond 4 or 5.  it would just not be as 
> meaningful for third parties to independently check and add up those 
> subtotals.
> ...
> BTW, i grew up in eastern North Dakota and i know a few folks and 
> relatives in Mpls/StP.  if i had to live in the midwest, Mpls/StP or 
> maybe Madison would be where i would want to live.
= = = = =
[KB]  This is a more complete description off our process in 
Minneapolis.  After the poll (precinct) closes, we
   - transmit electronically the ballot counter's data to Elections HQ.
   - print copies of the precinct totals of first choices for every race 
and post one in the precinct entrance for anyone to inspect.
   - remove the thumb drive with its stored data from the machine and 
seal it in its own envelope.
   - remove all the ballots from the counter and seal them in boxes.
   - complete reports on various activities in the precinct during the 
voting day (7 am-8 pm).

After we've completed all our paper reports and sealed all the other 
precinct records, two election judges -- including at least one of the 
Head Judge or the Asst. Head Judge -- drive the records (including the 
thumb drive) and ballots to one of two locations where HQ staff check in 
everything against a checklist of precinct requirements.

HQ has the electronically-sent precinct ballot images and vote totals 
for each race; the ballot images and vote totals on the precinct ballot 
counter's thumb drive; and the paper ballots the counter processed.

A recount would use the paper ballots.  I won't swear to it, but I 
believe in our two RCV* city elections there hasn't been a recount. As I 
recall, there was a physical count of all paper ballots in 2009 before 
the city got upgraded hardware and software for 2013 (although we're 
still waiting for software to be certified that'll allow more choices on 
the ballots).
   - Ken Bearman, Minneapolis MN

   * Just FYI, single-winner races are IRV and at-large Park Board and 
Board of Estimate and Taxation races are STV.  RCV is the inclusive name.

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