[OT] Voting systems [was Wrong ad on www.linux.org]

John Macdonald john-Z7w/En0MP3xWk0Htik3J/w at public.gmane.org
Mon Jul 5 04:13:41 UTC 2004

On Fri, Jul 02, 2004 at 11:01:36PM -0400, Tom Legrady wrote:
> Or simply reach into the box of votes, and draw out ONE ballot .... 
> whoever that ballot is for, is the winner.
> Tom Legrady
> Henry Spencer wrote:
> >You're a computer guy thinking in terms of computer methods.  The key here
> >is *don't use a computer*.  In any case, you're not after a pseudorandom
> >number, which is what Knuth is agonizing over; real randomness is what's
> >called for here. 
> >
> >Say in your district, 34,000 people voted Liberal, 27,000 voted NDP, and
> >9,000 voted for assorted fringe parties :-), making a total of 70,000. 
> >Use one of those drum-full-of-numbered-balls machines they use (or used
> >to, last I looked) for the 6/49 lottery, except load it with a couple of
> >hundred balls with numbers 0-9.  The first five out give you a number from
> >0 to 99,999.  If it's 70,000 or higher, toss those balls back in and try
> >again.  If it's 0-33,999, the Liberals win.  If it's 34,000-60,999, the
> >NDP wins.  And likewise for the fringe parties.  The machine is easily
> >audited, and you do the actual selection with the TV cameras live.

Read Henry's last sentence again, Tom.  Picking out an
actual ballot is easier to "fix", and much harder to
prove that it was done fairly.  (Even if you didn't pick
the ballot that was hidden in the sleeve of you coat,
did you pick a ballot box from the east end of the riding
that was strongly liberal, the west end that was strongly
conservative, or that first poll that reported in one
B.C. riding that had the Green Party leading for a while?
And did you *really* pick the ballot that was folded into
a paper airplane at *random*?)  For validation purposes,
the individual poll boxes are not going to all be tossed
into a single large bin for you to pick from.

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