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AmBlue

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Member since: Sat Feb 5, 2005, 05:14 PM
Number of posts: 2,219

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USA Today: Still time for an election audit

Still time for an election audit: Column
Ron Rivest and Philip Stark 11:26 a.m. EST November 18, 2016

This should be standard — and it's easy, too.

A Washington Post–ABC News poll found that 18% of voters — 33% of Clinton supporters and 1% of Trump supporters — think Trump was not the legitimate winner of the election. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has called on Congress to investigate the Russian cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee and the election.

There are reasons for concern. According to the director of national intelligence, the leaked emails from the DNC were “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” The director of national intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency concluded that the Russian government is behind the DNC email hack and that Russian hackers attacked U.S. voter registration databases.

We know that the national results could be tipped by manipulating the vote count in a relatively small number of jurisdictions — a few dozen spread across a few key states. We know that the vast majority of local elections officials have limited resources to detect or defend against cyberattacks. And while pre-election polls have large uncertainties, they were consistently off. And various aspects of the preliminary results, such as a high rate of undervotes for president, have aroused suspicion.

Computers counted the vast majority of the 130 million votes cast in this year's election. Even without hacking, mistakes are inevitable. Computers can’t divine voter intent perfectly; computers can be misconfigured; and software can have bugs. Did human error, computer glitches, hacking, or other problems change the outcome? While there is, as yet, no compelling evidence, the news about hacking and deliberate interference makes it worth finding out.

***

...an audit that manually examines a random sample of the ballots in a way that has a large chance of detecting and correcting incorrect results. This is called a “risk-limiting” audit. If the reported winner of a contest really won, a risk-limiting audit generally needs to examine only a small fraction of the ballots. But if the reported winner actually lost, a risk-limiting audit has a large chance of indicating that a full hand count is needed to set the record straight.

Risk-limiting audits are a crucial check on election integrity and accuracy even when elections are not controversial and margins are wide. They have been endorsed by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and many organizations concerned with election integrity. Colorado law requires risk-limiting audits starting in 2017, and California law requires them for deploying some new voting systems.

There is no federal law mandating election audits. A number of states perform some kind of audit, but our research shows those audits have little or no chance of detecting and correcting erroneous results. To audit this election effectively will require immediate legal action.

<snip>

Ron Rivest is Institute Professor at MIT and was a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Technical Guidelines Development Committee. Philip Stark, associate dean of mathematical and physical sciences at the University of California, Berkeley,was appointed to the board of advisers of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

More here:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/11/18/election-audit-paper-machines-column/93803752/

Demand an AUDIT of the 2016 Presidential Election

Go sign the petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/demand-an-audit-of-the-2016-presidential-election

Hell yeah!! We should be doing this for EVERY election .

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