CalTech/MIT studies confirm accuracy of hand recounts

FYI… just sent this to my press list:

Contact: David Goldstein
HorsesAss.Org
david@horsesass.org
206-774-6790

TO MY FRIENDS IN THE MEDIA:

CalTech/MIT studies confirm accuracy of hand recounts

In asking for a new election, Dino Rossi continues to make the unscientific charge that hand recounts are less accurate than machine counts. However, there happens to be quite a bit of research on this topic by the CalTech/MIT Voter Technology Project. [http://www.vote.caltech.edu/]

Of particularly relevance is the published study “Using Recounts to Measure the Accuracy of Vote Tabulations: Evidence from New Hampshire Elections 1946-2002.” [http://www.vote.caltech.edu/Reports/vtp_WP10.pdf] In this study the authors assert:

“Tabulations may change from the initial count to the recount for a variety of reasons: ballots may be mishandled; machines may have difficulty reading markings; people and machines may make tabulation errors. Because recounts are used to certify the vote, greater effort is taken to arrive at the most accurate accounting of the ballots cast. The initial count of ballots, then is treated as a preliminary count, and the recount as the official.”

In measuring tabulation error rates, the CalTech/MIT investigators clearly start from the assumption that recounts are more accurate because greater care is taken in arriving at the result. The study concludes that recounts should be mandatory whenever the margin of victory falls within 0.5%.

But Mr. Rossi has attacked the integrity of hand counts in particular. The researchers at CalTech/MIT speak directly to that issue in a paper titled “Residual Votes Attributable to Technology: An Assessment of the Reliability of Existing Voting Technology.” [http://www.vote.caltech.edu/Reports/vtp_WP1.pdf]

The “residual voting rate” is considered the primary metric for measuring the relative performance of voting technologies. According to CalTech/MIT:

“Similar jurisdictions using different technologies ought to have the same residual vote rate, on average. By this metric, hand-counted paper ballots and optically scanned ballots have shown the better overall performance than punch cards, lever machines, and electronic voting machines.”

The study finds that punch cards and electronic voting machines have a residual voting rate for president of about 3 percent of all ballots cast, whereas paper and optically scanned ballots produce rates of only 2 percent… “a statistically significant difference of fully one percent.” Indeed, when comparing jurisdictions that have switched from one voting technology to the other, the researchers conclude:

“Paper might even be an improvement over lever machines and scanners.”

The scientific literature clearly supports the notion that hand counts are accurate, and that recounts are more accurate than the initial, preliminary count. For Mr. Rossi to continue to insist that the first count was the most accurate, not only flies in the face of science, but of the clear intent of the governing statutes. It should be remembered that as a state senator, Mr. Rossi voted for an overhaul of RCW Title 29A, that reaffirmed the primacy of hand recounts in determining the outcome of our elections.

I encourage you all to go to the source material and evaluate the research for yourself. I believe you will agree that it is one thing to make specific allegations of fraud and error, and quite another to impugn the integrity our voting system in general.

###

Comments

  1. 1

    bmvaughn spews:

    you have a press list? doesn’t look like they do much for you, as the last posting you have with the press was in 2003.

  2. 4

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    I’m not sure it’s worth anyone’s time getting into a pissing match about the validity of the act of manual counting. If Counties did what Jefferson Co. did, it works out ok. We found 1 precindt where Greoire gained a vote and Rossi lost a vote. The over- and under- votes did not change. The first 2 machine counts were identical in that precindt. The Auditor re-looked at the precindt and sure enough, there was a Rossi ballot in the Gregoire pile. The totals were corrected BEFORE certification.

    My problem with King County and several others is WHAT was counted! The incredibly poor maintenance of the King Co. Voter Registration database as evidenced by the disappearance of Phillips scanned signature and many other examples. Other Counties also have Database Maintenance issues….many. It all boils down to what the Courts view as examples of “wrongful acts, errors and neglect”. What is the Courts standard? Wrongful act is a much lower standard of proof than fraud. This is why the professional Dem. “spinners” keep using the “F” word. Unfortunately for them, that is not what the Code says. Perhaps that is how the Court will interpret it however…if they want to legislate from the bench so to speak.

  3. 5

    Peter spews:

    Be careful, the undertheSound critics don’t like the sexual references on this blog – Too democrat….you will bring the scorn of the blue noses on Goldy

  4. 7

    Goldy spews:

    you have a press list? doesn’t look like they do much for you, as the last posting you have with the press was in 2003.

    BM… I got so jaded by all my press coverage last year, I’ve neglected to update during 2004. Getting your name in the paper isn’t so exciting after the first few dozen times.

    More important (and gratifying) is all the times I move press coverage without getting my name mentioned. Dollars to donuts that one little press release influences more coverage than a month of Snark. There’s a reason why many members of the media respect me as a credible source… I’ve earned it.

  5. 8

    bmvaughn spews:

    thanks for clearing that up goldy, i appreciate your candidness. i figured you had just neglected to update the page.

    hey, i hear rumblings about http://www.revotewa.com it looks to be nationally republican funded.

  6. 9

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    Didn’t your mama ever compliment you when you were a little boy? Either that or perhaps you are inadequate in some area(s) of your life. I mean, I appreciate self-confidence…and you do occassionally come up with a worthwhile morsal but remember, even a blind pig gets an acorn once in awhile!
    I can only assume you are kidding and doing your mandatory hourly “spin” here.

  7. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    One thing we have in common Goldy is the ability to have fun.
    I have had plenty of experience dealing with Lefty’s in my life and…..well, don’t tell anyone, but I find some of them quite sincere & tolerable. I wouldn’t want to live in a world with a bunch of assholes like me!

  8. 13

    jcricket spews:

    Hey Cynical – I forgot to mention, while you were gone Jim pointed out that voter’s signatures aren’t part of the public record, and providing them to someone not involved in the election is a crime. So, when you say that you saw the two signatures of Larry Phillips, were you lying? Or committing a crime? Or just abetting someone who committed a crime?

  9. 14

    bj-too spews:

    The Caltech/MIT study is interesting, but I do have to
    correct you’re spelling of Caltech. It’s Caltech
    capital T. A pet peeve of mine.

    Caltech, BS ’87

  10. 15

    bj-too spews:

    oops, I can’t believe I made a typo in my typo correction
    post: sorry, your spelling of Caltech is wrong.

    bj-too

  11. 17

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    KIRO poll 71% say YES to a re-vote, 28% say NO

    King5 65.65% yes; 34.09% no

    Unscientific but surely indicative of the will of Washingtonians

  12. 18

    Goldy spews:

    The Caltech/MIT study is interesting, but I do have to
    correct you’re spelling of Caltech. It’s Caltech
    capital T. A pet peeve of mine.

    Caltech, BS ’87

    I apologize.

    Penn (not Penn State), BA History, ’85

  13. 20

    Peter spews:

    A O L Poll – results, 16,791 responses — 66 per cent say NO revote — and — 34 per cent say YES to revote……

    Victory always brings tears.

  14. 21

    Peter spews:

    SUCH a puzzle — Still trying to figure how Gov elect Christine Gregoire stopped the solider from voting? Did I miss a lot? How do we know it was a Rossi vote- his mommie said so. No daddy, mommy did not get to talk…..at the big time, bad ass Rossi, have the ammo to sue press conf.

    How can you count the ballot when he did not send it back? What did I miss? – please tell me Chuck and Mr C.

    Another conspiracy?- just discovered undertheSound- Dems control the Post Office and the military post office, and STOP ballots from soliders? Is that it? —

    Get real for once—we all want the soliders to get their ballots, when requested, vote when desired, and cout them always.

    Where is the beef? My street needs gravel, Will Rossi stop Gregoire from not allowing it to be delivered and spread. And then there is the failure of the street light up on the other corner. Damn mother s****ing Dems, want to keep us down, no street lights.

    Blather, blather blather. No ballot fraud, just blather, blather and more blather….ad nauseum.

  15. 22

    Chuck spews:

    Nice, is that AOL a net in poll or a more genuine one where they either called people or at least people called in?

  16. 24

    Erik spews:

    I hate to quote at length, but the Seattle PI editorial for 12/31/2004 is just too good and on the point to pass up:

    One word: Preposterous

    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

    Absolutely preposterous. Dino Rossi’s call for a rerun of the governor’s election has no basis, at least so far.

    Christine Gregoire, Rossi’s Democratic opponent, is now governor-elect as the result of a stunningly close election. By the very nature of the 129-vote margin, the election will always be subject to uncertainty. But that’s life, not automatic grounds for another election, requiring more money and possibly ending with similarly close vote totals.

    Gregoire’s conduct throughout the difficult post-election period has been exemplary. She showed optimism, patience and a disciplined pursuit of legally valid processes on the basis of facts and principles, not vague feelings.

    In contrast to Gregoire’s dignified patience, Rossi now wants another shot at winning the election without meeting the high legal standards that should be required. On Wednesday, the Republican suggested skipping a court fight, avoiding any prolonged attempt to determine the grounds to overturn Gregoire’s victory and giving him one more try at grabbing the governorship.

    Gregoire was right to reject the request for a new election. It’s one more sign that she is well suited for the office.

    As we noted previously, however, Rossi has every right to pursue a judicial or legislative appeal. We would prefer legal proceedings. But any challenge to the election results should be undertaken with a patient pursuit of the facts, acceptance of existing law and self-restraint.

    We are not surprised by much in politics, but Rossi’s request that now Gov.-elect Gregoire join him in asking for a new vote was amazing. He said the election was “a total mess,” an absurdly subjective way to describe the generally well-conducted election. A letter he sent to Gregoire needlessly frets about the effects on the state of a drawn-out process. And he complains the state Supreme Court “changed the rules,” an insulting assertion that Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican like Rossi, flatly rejected yesterday.

    It’s troubling to see Rossi’s lack of discipline in questioning the court and asking for a quick decision on a new election. This suggests that his decisions as governor on the environment, worker safety and the like might be based more on his feelings than on facts.

    Throughout the past eight-plus weeks, Reed has proven a model of fairness, good judgment and honesty. In contrast to what happens in many states, the Republican has shown that a partisan official can administer even the closest election in an even-handed manner. Reed’s predecessor, Ralph Munro, should have avoided his post-election second-guessing of the results.

    In certifying Gregoire’s victory yesterday, Reed thanked voters for their patience. And he praised county administrators around the state for how well they handled a record number of votes in apparently the closest modern U.S. governor’s race. As Reed noted, however, there are questions that can be validly pursued through appeals. More patience is still needed on the part of the public, Rossi and Gregoire.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/.....ssied.html

  17. 25

    Chuck spews:

    Get real for once—we all want the soliders to get their ballots, when requested, vote when desired, and cout them always.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Nice of you to point this out…why did the DMC fight counting military votes (sucessfully might I add) in 2000?

  18. 26

    Chuck spews:

    Seattle PI editorial for 12/31/2004 is just one more example of the reasons that Washington state needs to split with King county. Totally seperate ideaologys.

  19. 27

    Chuck spews:

    And then there is the failure of the street light up on the other corner. Damn mother s****ing Dems, want to keep us down, no street lights>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Another example of what Tacoma Democrats did to locals to save money for a computer boondoggle that still doesnt work….

  20. 28

    Chuck spews:

    My street needs gravel>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    What makes you special? when my street needs gravel I get my ass out, get a wheel barrow and apply gravel. Why should your street get gravel on my tax dollar? Typical liberal….

  21. 29

    Erik spews:

    >Washington state needs to split with King county. Totally seperate >ideaologys.

    Yes, I agree:

    Never say die rightwingers :

    ideaologys

    Moderate Republicans, Democrats and independants :

    ideologies

    (just trying to have a little fun folks :) )

  22. 30

    zip spews:

    PI: “By the very nature of the 129-vote margin, the election will always be subject to uncertainty. ”

    That is exactly the point Mr. Rossi made. In hindsight, he may have been able to phrase things more to the PI’s liking, but what’s the point of trying to please the PI if you’re a Republican, anyway?

    The point of the next 3 weeks is to discover many other screwups that occurred in this election. They started with voter registration and ended who knows where. These will be argued in court, who knows who will win the argument, but these screwups will be laid bare out in the open for legitamate voters to see. That process harms the state by damging the credibility of the government. THAT is why Gregoire should never have called for the second recount. The damage can only be undoen with a new vote, hopefully with a clear winner.

  23. 31

    Goldy spews:

    That process harms the state by damging the credibility of the government. THAT is why Gregoire should never have called for the second recount

    Sure Zip… Gregoire shouldn’t have pursued a hand recount she believed she had a good chance of winning, because Rossi threatened to undermine the integrity of our electoral system if she did. Just like he tried to extort her into agreeing to a new election by threatening to drag a contest through the courts for months.

    Well you know what? You don’t negotiate with terrorists.

  24. 32

    jcricket spews:

    You’re kidding, right zip? Laying bare the actual facts harms the government? And that’s a bad thing? If the actual facts support fraud, real malfeasance or gross negligence, then government be damned. It’s good to know what the facts are. That’s why it’s good the state mandates a second count if the first one is close. And that’s why Gregoire was right in using her legal rights to call for a (and pay a deposit on) hand recount.

    The only reason Rossi called for a re-vote is he wanted the chance to take some of the heat off of his back when he contests the election. He’ll try and claim, “I offered Gregoire a way out…” It’s pure spin, zip. Pure spin. He’s also afraid that he won’t be able to find anything to support his facts well enough to win his case – and if he loses that contest, his political cred is zero.

    If Rossi can find some facts (which have eluded him and Repubs so far) and bring them in front of a court, good for him. If it turns out he’s right, he’ll have even more credibility, and the Democrats will have even less.

    BTW, there’s no guarantee a revote wouldn’t have been equally as close. And with the revote happening so soon after the first election, there’s no doubt the same problems would occur (some are inherent with the technology used, or the variety of voting methods). Not to mention a whole host of new problems that would crop up.

  25. 33

    jcricket spews:

    Wanted to add – The real harm to the credibility of government is when one party tries to prevent the other from using their legal rights by calling the whole election system into question through innuendo, rumor and allegations. That’s all the Republicans have presented so far. The so-called “problems” you mention exist mostly in the minds of Republicans, or have been corrected through the appropriate, existing, legal means, as Sam Reed constantly points out.

  26. 34

    zip spews:

    Give me a break, I hope you don’t actually believe that? Take a deep breath and remember mid-Novemeber when the shoe was on the other foot.

    And you forgot to compliment me for staying on message despite having to wade through all the smokescreens in the press and blogs.

    Chain of events: close initial count, closer recount, Gregoire calls for recount (funded by losers like Kerry and worse), state refunds money to losers, court battles, ??? wins, people throw in the towel on trusting state, Eyman passes his next initiative. Who started the chain? Gregoire.

    Ever heard the term “proximate cause”? Her call for the recount caused the mess we’re all in, regardless of who wins in court. She can only undo the damage by agreeing to a re vote.

  27. 35

    Erik spews:

    The point of the next 3 weeks is to discover many other screwups that occurred in this election. They started with voter registration and ended who knows where.

    Yes, I agree this is exactly what the Rossi team is planning. This is known as a “quintessential fishing expedition” as there is still no evidence of fraud or any other basis for the election to be overturned.

    The Supreme court stated in their decision and Sam Reed emphasized today while certifing the results, is that there is still no evidence of any fraud and that the prior mistakes have been corrected by the election system. As of the time of certification today, all of the accusations and conjecture have added up to zero.

  28. 36

    zip spews:

    Erik: time will tell whether prior mistakes have been corrected. And I stand by my guns: Gregoire started this when she (legally) caled for the second recount. The unescapable result will be backlash against the state. And she knew (or should have) this would be the result.

    Maybe that backlash isn’t such a bad thing since the democrats run everything for the next while. It’s just that a lot of us were hoping the state could actually move forward for once.

    And that “give me a break” was aimed at spin master Goldy.

  29. 37

    jcricket spews:

    This state will move forward just fine. If you end up left behind, I suppose that’s not the end of the world. While there are many wingnuts who are angry at Gregoire, there are an equal number of people who are proud of her for standing up for her legal rights, despite the Republicans posturing.

    Just like the Democrats who are still waiting for the backlash from FL 2000, you’ll be waiting a loooong time.

  30. 38

    zip spews:

    Goldy: “Just like he tried to extort her into agreeing to a new election by threatening to drag a contest through the courts for months.”???

    Go back and read the briefs that Gregoire’s lawyers filed back in Novemeber to refresh your memory. Oh that’s right, she didn;t know about the lawsuit until it was filed. Sorry, not her threats.

    I’ll bet you 10 bucks if she is sworn in (unless as a result of a re vote) , Eyman’s first initiative in 2006 will pass, despite both of our votes against it. To the detriment of this state.

  31. 39

    Goldy spews:

    I’ll bet you 10 bucks if she is sworn in (unless as a result of a re vote) , Eyman’s first initiative in 2006 will pass, despite both of our votes against it. To the detriment of this state.

    What… you’re skipping Eyman’s pathetic 2005 initiative? Suddenly, after three years in the wilderness, Timmy’s going to make an amazing comeback in 2006?

    Oh man… I should have voted for Rossi, so he could systematically dismantle state government… just to keep Eyman out of business.

  32. 40

    Paul Thompson spews:

    Rossi’s call for a revote is nothing short genius! Watch and see. The vast majority of peopele in the general public are very uneasy with Gregoire’s 129 vote win. Dino’s letter will build a groundswell of support for an honest answer to the question: who do the people want as the Govorner of their state. If an election were held today I believe that Rossi would win by at least five percent.

    “By the people and for the people.”

    We want an honest election! Let the people decide.

    paul daniel

  33. 41

    zip spews:

    Sounds like the bet’s on, blogger man.

    And I agree, you should have voted for Rossi. Don’t worry, you’ll get another chance in a couple months.

  34. 42

    Chuck spews:

    there are an equal number of people who are proud of her for standing up for her legal rights, despite the Republicans posturing.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Dont flatter yourself…the polls ALL show that she should have conceded!

  35. 44

    jcricket spews:

    Paul – if you’re right, then why in the world would Gregoire agree to a re-vote? She’d have nothing to gain, and everything to lose. Her best bet is to accept the election results and begin to govern. If Rossi’s able to drum up enough facts to actually get the election contested, then she’s probably screwed anyway.

    But without an election contest, I seriously doubt that most people (remember, legislature is controlled by dems) outside of bloggers and talk-radio hosts will keep on caring about this much past January. Sure, it might come up again as a campaign issue in 06 against Cantwell, or 08 against Gregoire, but it’s not going to be the “issue du jour” for much longer.

  36. 45

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    jcricket–
    Still waiting for your legal expose on where I am wrong about a contested election. “Error, neglect & wrongful acts”.
    C’mon…show me the goods jcricket!
    Richard Pope and Jim King did a fine job outlining what it takes for the Courts to set aside an election. Let’s hear your case.
    What…you don’t have one?
    Now hurry up and change the subject jcricket!

  37. 46

    Chuck spews:

    BTW, there’s no guarantee a revote wouldn’t have been equally as close.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Rest assured it will turn out with a definate winner, Chrissy has finished herself politicly, Ted Bundy could beat her now

  38. 47

    Chuck spews:

    Paul – if you’re right, then why in the world would Gregoire agree to a re-vote? She’d have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    That is exactly why she wont agree to a revote, simply she knows that she is now a political skunk but power hungry as she is she is hoping to be governor for 4 years and not have to worry about it.

  39. 48

    Paul Thompson spews:

    jcricket,

    The fact that I’m right is exactly why Christine will not agree to a revote. She knows she is not truely wanted. I mean how may Democrats had to vote for Rossi to get where we are today? But does she care? I don’t think so. She reminds me of Bob Dole. Can you imagine Bob Dole somehow(unloved) slipping into office as President? No one wants him. How in the hell did he get there? Revote? No way! I’m here to stay.

    paul daniel

  40. 49

    bby spews:

    Paul – Let set you down for a little talk about the “possible revote” – there are not enough of you outside of Seattle to elect Dino Rossi now.

    You think Seattle/King Co was energized for Gregoire, well — Believe me, there would be 50,000 new hardcore Dems registed, verified, giving money and 5 million dollars in 60 days.

    There is something so smarty about some of this neo right wing huff and puff– let me tell you, the fervor to fight the right wing, and now we all know just how right wing Dino is, in Seattle that FIGHT has no bounds.

    You would LOSE a second count. The King dom of the 1,000 pound gorilla will VOTE you into the ground.

    ( PS- Lebian Lib will endorese
    Gregoire)

  41. 50

    Goldy spews:

    He Cynical… tell me exactly… how many election contests have you been involved, that you’re such an expert? None? And how many election contests have resulted in the results being set aside? One? And tell me… what is it in Foulkes v. Hays that makes you so sure this is such a slam dunk if the GOP presents 129 errors? Huh?

    Give it a rest. Or bring me an attorney with expertise in this area (assuming there are any) to back you up.

  42. 51

    bby spews:

    ZIP – Ther are 20 people who work in an office I share in Seattle. I don’t know who you are talikng about, but there are NO sad Ghristine folk there, none. Happy as clams, glad she is fighting, can’t believe Chris Vance….honey, The Democratic party in Seattle King Co has never been stronger.

    Beware. Your friends are tying to get you off their backs…..the new Dino is already been pushed to the right. In an election he will be supported openly by the ultra right. Kiss of death.

  43. 53

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    Obviously no one has been involved in a Washington Governor’s contested election Goldy. The case you cited was a County Commissioner election, wasn’t it?
    We previously discussed the statutes related to contested elections a while back. The relevant statutes were posted. That’s what we need to find and debate.
    I’ve said repeatedly I don’t know what the Supreme Court will do on this. I do know the statute requires hard evidence of “errors, neglect or wrongful acts” that could have changed the election result in order for the Court to “set aside” the election.
    Put ‘er up Goldy and let’s debate it.

  44. 54

    zip spews:

    bby, You are correct about Seattle/King demo strength. See my other post about the resultant urine impregnated sidewalks in Pioneer Square. They are the result of this demo control.

    And if you really think Rossi (or most of his supporters) are ultra-this or neo-that on the right, you are mistaken. As long as name-calling is the order of the day, I still don’t get why the wacked-out lefties support Gregoire, other than the fact that they vote lockstep democrat.

  45. 55

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    bby–
    I can understand political parties trying to offer the “big tent”. But I don’t think it’s advisable to actually erect a big tent and have all your supporters live under it!

  46. 56

    bby spews:

    Take it easy – hell, man, I am putting the campaign plan for ten minority communities this evening. JUST in passing, R’s in this state have a shitty, and yes, I mean shitty record on civil rights.

    Oh, well, why would that matter in a City that is 35 per cent non white? Duh? And that does not address the dismal record of R’s in this state on issues involving sexual minorities….pro-choice….long list working for Gregoire in the showdown of the century… And of course the Gregoire effort would be viewed as the set up for Maria, double duty, nice economy of scale

    Paul, Dino needs to concede.

  47. 57

    zip spews:

    bby, are you saying Rossi has a shitty, and yes, I mean shitty record on civil rights? Is that why you and your wing nut friends support Gregoire?

    I never hear anybody say anything positive about Gregoire other than the “she’s a fighter” BS. That is why she will lose a re-vote.

  48. 58

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    bby–
    So you are a “minority”? I have “minority” friends who are pretty conservative and tired of being taken for granted by the Dems. They have done well for themselves thru hard-work and determination….not because of guilt-ridden white guys using them for political gain.

  49. 59

    Peter spews:

    C – Dino is going to own the shitty record on civil rights of the
    R party in this State. His outsider role is over.

    “Using them” – don’t be so racist.

  50. 61

    Brian spews:

    Bullshit!
    Rossi is not the only one making the claim that hand recounts are less accurate, you ass. Dean Logan said the same thing, and Sec of State Reed’s office said the same thing, if you bother to look.

  51. 62

    jcricket spews:

    The only quotes I’ve seen are, at worst, equivocal about the relative error rates of hand and machine counts. Sam Reed and Dean Logan usually are quotes as pointing out that machines have some advantages, but that hand counts have advantages too (i.e. divining voter intent). Plus, it’s important to compare machine counts with meticulously conducted and observed hand counts. It’s not like one guy in a corner tallying up 1 million votes – the hand recount has multiple checks and balances and partisan observers.

    Interesting factoid: Bush signed a hand recount law while Governor of Texas

    For some actual “fact-filled” commentary on hand vs. machine recounts, I thought people here might be interested in this:

    http://www.missouri.edu/~news/.....ntFEC.html

    Here’s another quote from elsewhere on the web (on precision vs. accuracy):

    Accuracy dealt with how close the measured value was to the actual value.  Precision dealt with how close repeated measured values were to each other.

    A machine count is more precise than a hand count.  Multiple machine counts vary by a smaller amount than multiple hand counts.

    However, a precise count is not necessarily an accurate count.  A machine may misread the same ballot every count, rendering a precise count that is not accurate.  A human, at least, won’t suffer from many of the failures that machines do; they won’t neglect to read a ballot because it has a stray mark, or because it’s stuck to another ballot, of for other trivial reasons.  Thus a hand count should be more accurate, given honest counting, if not more precise.

    The upshot: simply because a machine can’t read a ballot doesn’t mean a human shouldn’t.

    I would argue that from the scholarly evidence I’ve read (and as Goldy has argued) that a meticulously conducted hand recount can be more accurate than a machine recount. However, neither a machine nor a hand count is able to meet a degree of accuracy that is required in an election this close. Them’s the breaks.