Know people in software in Bangalore?

berkeley, friends, research, iSchool

then write Yuri:

First, this blog isn't nearly popular enough for this to work, but I might as well try: I am going to spend a week in Bangalore, and am looking to talk to people working in software there. Any one who is there or can suggest people, please write (qaramazov at

The Wire, Season 4 DVDs

wtf?, wikipedia

OMG, Amazon has a page up for the DVDs of The Wire's 4th season!!!

The Wire, in my humble opinion, is the best television series ever.

(although I'm a big fan of Battlestar and Deadwood... and then there's Xena and Buffy)

Upgrading Blog

blogging, feeds, hacks, open source

I'm upgrading my blog software, so please stay tuned... it might look a bit weird around here and your feeds might not work for a bit.

Things left to do:

  • All done. ... let me know if you see anything out of order.

"Post Election Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections"

elections, reform, standards, berkeley, problems, friends, research, policy, legal

Today, we released our new report (2.6MB PDF) on post-election audits of paper records. The authors include Larry Norden, Aaron Burstein, Margaret Chen and myself.

It's a wonderful collaboration between the Samuelson Clinic at UC Berkeley and the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law (the discrepancy data and maps were courtesy of Common Cause and VotersUnite!). It's a great addition to two other recently released election auditing reports, the Final Report of the California Secretary of State's Post-Election Audit Standards Working Group and "Percentage-based versus SAFE Vote Tabulation Auditing: A Graphic Comparison".

From the press release:

New York, NY ? The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law released a new report today that suggests a majority of states have not adopted adequate security measures to ensure the integrity of election results tallied on electronic voting machines. [...]

The report, "Post Elections Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections," details how few states are fully equipped to find sophisticated and targeted software-based attacks, non-systemic programming errors and software bugs that could change the outcome of an election.

To improve the integrity of election outcomes the report recommends both more targeted and rigorous audits of paper records produced by electronic voting machines. The report examines post-election audits of voter-verified paper records in detail, and explains how jurisdictions can use a randomly selected percentage of paper records after the polls have closed to check the electronic vote tallies and the performance of electronic voting machines. [...]

Over the past year the Brennan Center and the Samuelson Clinic convened a blue ribbon panel of statisticians, voting experts, computer scientists, and the nation's leading election officials, to craft practical recommendations for improving post-election audits. They spent months reviewing and evaluating existing post-election audit laws and procedures, and the papers of academics and election integrity activists that have frequently criticized such laws as inadequate.

Among the report?s key findings:

  • Post-election audits of voter-verifiable paper records are a critical tool for detecting ballot-counting errors, discouraging fraud, and improving the security and reliability of electronic voting machines in future elections. Unfortunately, of the thirty-eight states that require or use voter-verifiable paper records throughout the state, twenty-three do not require such audits after every election.
  • Of the few states that currently require and conduct post-election audits, none has adopted audit models that will maximize the likelihood of finding clever and targeted software-based attacks, non-systemic programming errors, and software bugs that could change the outcome of an election.
  • Only one state, North Carolina, has collected and made public the most significant data from post-election audits for the purpose of improving future elections. Based upon the Brennan Center?s review of state laws and interviews with state election officials, the authors conclude that the vast majority of states conducting audits are not using them in a way that will maximize their ability to improve elections in the future.
  • Regardless of the audit model a jurisdiction implements, there are several simple, practical, and inexpensive procedures that it can adopt to achieve the most important post-election auditing goals, without imposing unnecessary burdens on election officials.

The report lays out principles for local and state election officials to determine which votes should be audited, how audits should be properly conducted, and how to ensure overall audit effectiveness. A summary of the recommendations is available here.

Here's the UC Berkeley press release, the Brennan Center press release and the full report, entitled, "Post Elections Audits: Restoring Trust in Elections" (PDF).

we interrupt your regular programming...

elections, certification/testing, reform, copyright, litigation, policy, legal

well, this post has been misconstrued by a few people with selective editing to have wider implications than it does. So, I'm withdrawing it. Please don't twist what I say to your advantage.

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