[clug] Open Data Democracy

Michael James michael at james.st
Tue Jun 28 13:27:50 UTC 2016

>> Does the Australian Electoral Commission publish
>> the raw votes data for each electorate?
>> ie: This preference pattern scored this many votes.
>> So other implementations of the counting algorithm can be run against it?
> See "First Preferences and Quota" for ATL, "State Below the Line
> Preferences" for BTL. Takes a bit of work to make sense of the BTL
> files (you need to cross reference it with Candidate IDs etc etc)
> but I think it's doable.
> http://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/SenateDownloadsMenu-17496-csv.htm

Hmmmm, not what I was looking for.

I seem to remember we were rebuffed
 when we asked to see the source of the AEC counting algorithm.

When we vote, scrutineers representing the candidates can watch the process.
Then scrutineers can watch the ballot boxes being opened and inspect votes.
The votes are entered into computers, scrutineers can watch that this is done correctly.
Then we run a closed source black box algorithm and declare the winner!

Hooray for transparency. Please, tell me I’m wrong?

So, if we can’t have open source democracy, can we have open data?

The AEC publish a file with the raw vote tallies, this preference pattern scored this many votes.
This file must have enough data to actually run the counting algorithm.
Just first preferences (while very useful for regional analyses) is not enough.

Then anyone with some scripting ability can run their implementation
 of the statute defined counting algorithm against the AEC one.

Comments anyone?

PS:	I’m particularly interested in the more complex senate count.
	Last election, they bundled above the line votes and counted them,
	 they entered below the line votes literally.
	So I’m still trusting computers to safely store and tally the votes.
	It’s a break in the chain of evidence, but less complex than the tally algorithm.

Michael James			clug3 at james.st

Well theme my emoticons disgusted,
	what has Linux come to?

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