[E-voting] Any statisticians subscribed? Looking for a tipping point.

Brian O'Byrne bobyrne at statesoft.ie
Thu Sep 8 15:07:40 IST 2005


At the risk of being branded a heretic:

When writing that previous message I prepared the paragraph:
I suggest to you that 40% turnout that gives the honest opinion of 40% 
of the electorate is more useful than 70% turnout that gives the 
honest opinion of 40% of the electorate.

Now as stated, that rings obviously true, however what if you play 
with the numbers a bit:
I suggest to you that 40% turnout that gives the honest opinion of 39% 
of the electorate is more useful than 70% turnout that gives the 
honest opinion of 60% of the electorate.

If that so obviously true?

Is there a value in increasing turnout at the cost of validity?
Lets say that at any election there is a proportion of the electorate 
that will always vote. Because the system is well designed a high 
proportion of those votes will be accurate reflections of the voter 
intent, meaning the proportion of 'good' votes is high.

Now add another voting channel with a lower integrity. Some of the 
people who always vote use this new channel, but many new voters also 
use it. The overall proportion of 'good' votes reduces but the number 
of votes increases.

Assume first that the 'bad' votes are randomly distributed. Does the 
reduction in accuracy affect the result?

Now assume the 'bad' votes are skewed. How much of a skew is required 
to affect the result? What is the relationship between the integrity 
of the vote, the skew in the 'bad' votes and the result?

Brian.
-- 
Brian O'Byrne, Statesoft Ltd.
Tel: +353 1 4100 993, +353 86 240 4719
http://www.statesoft.ie/




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