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Home Sections Politics “Randomness and Representative Samplings More Important Than Size of Sampling,” Says Chicago Elections Spokesman
“Randomness and Representative Samplings More Important Than Size of Sampling,” Says Chicago Elections Spokesman PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 23:37

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International)

  

C HICAGO (JGLi) – Despite doubts by losing politicians, a public-opinion poll can accurately measure the public sentiment if it has scientific-and-representative samplings that include all of the population’s political persuasions, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, etc.

 

This was the clarification by James P. Allen, Communications Director of the Chicago Board of Elections, to a story, “Primer on RP elections: ‘Fill up the oval,’” written by this reporter.

 

Mr. Allen said, “when I referred to 300 to 600 persons, I was clearly referring to how a public-opinion poll can accurately measure the public sentiment if it has scientific and representative samplings that include all of the population's political persuasions, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, etc. You may verify those numbers with any polling organization.

 

“My point was that we have seen accurate polling (on how people are likely to vote) in states the size of California with just several hundred voters – or public-opinions polls of the entire country with just a couple of thousand voters.”

 

H ere’s the full text of Mr. Allen’s e-mail to this reporter:

 

Mr. Lariosa,

 

You asked for my feedback, and here it is again.

 

In the 9th paragraph, you quote me referencing "Smartmatic PCOS" and "Sequoia-Smartmatic." I never said either of those things. You know I never said those things. You say below that you didn't quote me saying that -- but that you have leeway to add modifiers as you see fit.

 

I disagree strongly with the concept that somehow you have "leeway" to make things up and attribute quotes to me that I did not say.

 

YOUR STORY IS INACCURATE, MISLEADING

 

Beyond that, there are several other points in the story that are inaccurate, misleading or simply wrong.

 

You don't reboot a computer to solve a paper jam.

 

The punch cards weren't outlawed in 2000. As a result of the 2000 election, the punch cards were phased out in the years that followed. There is a distinction.

 

You referenced undervotes and then say in the very next sentence that I was referring to problems that occurred in 2006. The reader of that story is left with the wrong impression. As the story is written now, the story implies that undervotes were a problem in 2006.

 

YOUR DID NOT KEEP COMPLETE NOTES

 

In your email below, you are partially quoting me on sampling methods. It's plain to see you didn't keep complete notes that reflected the conversation. When I referred to 300 to 600 persons, I was clearly referring to how a public opinion poll can accurately measure the public sentiment if it has scientific and representative samplings that include all of the population's political persuasions, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, etc. You may verify those numbers with any polling organization.

 

My point was that we have seen accurate polling (on how people are likely to vote) in states the size of California with just several hundred voters – or public-opinions polls of the entire country with just a couple of thousand voters. My point was that the size of the sampling is not as important as the randomness and making sure the sampling is representative.

 

MANUAL AUDIT

 

Thus, my point was: For a manual audit, we have a random sample of 5% of the precincts – a percentage that is 1,000 times greater than the standard sampling used in many trustworthy polls (such as polling 300 to 600 voters out of the 7-million registered voters in Illinois).

 

Next, your reference to Australian ballot in your email below is far clearer than how it was presented in the story. In my earlier feedback email, I was saying that there was no link between Chicago's move to the secret ballot in the 1800s and the newer voting equipment in 2005. I understand your point about the move to the Australian ballot in the Philippines. However your story (by using the words "But Chicago still adopted...") makes it sound like Chicago only recently changed to using the Australian ballot.

 

MIXING TWO DIFFERENT BALLOTINGS

 

Your reference to the "backup battery keeping the paper ballot going to the auxiliary ballot box" is totally wrong. You mixed together two completely different balloting systems. There is no electricity used in an auxiliary ballot box. It's simply a metal box where paper ballots can be deposited securely and privately (without revealing the voter's choices) until the ballots can be run through a scanner when power is restored. The back-up battery would keep the touch screen voting machine operational. The touch screen is totally unrelated to the optical scanner, and it's totally unrelated to the auxiliary ballot box. So no, you didn't quote me, but the information in your story about a battery being used for an auxiliary ballot box is wrong.

 

CHICAGO NEVER INVOLVED WITH SMARTMATIC

 

Finally, the Chicago Election Board has a contract with Sequoia Voting Systems, and the Board has never had any involvement by or with Smartmatic. The Chicago Election Board has not had any problems with documentation of Sequoia ownership.

 

Again, you asked for my feedback. If you don't want to make corrections until some story in the future, that's your choice and I feel it's a regrettable choice.

 

Further, I don't believe that a recorded phone conversation would be more productive. Emails provide the best way to track exactly what was written.

 

As it stands, it is deeply disappointing to see that your article continues to misquote me in some areas, is incomplete or misleading in other paragraphs, and is inaccurate in still other areas.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Jim Allen 

Communications
Board of Election Commissioners for the City of
Chicago
69 West
Washington Street, Suites 600/800
Chicago, Illinois 60602

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 

 

 



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