To review the accuracy of the last election's vote count, Boulder County conducted an audit of ballots using a groundbreaking software program that was developed through open-source methods. This is computer geek-speak for a collaborative design approach based on the sharing of knowledge and technology between various creators, essentially opening the book of programming secrets to further a common goal.
While the idea of using election software whose programming intricacies -- and weaknesses -- are freely accessible would not be smart for use in the actual election, maybe it isn't such a bad thing for use in the auditing of that election. (Audits do exist to promote openness, after all.)
The ElectionAudits program begins with a sample of randomly selected ballots and statistically analyzes the results based on the closeness of the race and the precinct sizes; the ARS Technica site says it "could be the most extensive risk-limiting audit in history." According to an article on the system, the county plans to encourage broader adoption of the methodology and hopes that it will be endorsed by the Colorado Election Reform Commission.
That group meets again -- perhaps for the last time -- on Friday, January 2. -Jared Jacang Maher
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