[From Rick Marken (2000.12.11.1100)]
It looks like the Supreme Court decision will be based on
an issue that could not possibly be _more_ relevant to PCT:
determining voter intent.
I think PCT would say that the only way to determine voter
intent is to do the test for the controlled variable. That,
of course, is never done in any election for practical reasons.
So all we have after an election are behavioral results (marks
on paper, punches of varying clarity through cardboard, etc)
and we have to decide whether each result is intended or not.
The Bush lawyers seem to be arguing that a machine can detect
the intent of the voter better than a manual inspection
of the ballots. I think PCT shows that this is hogwash; with-
out a test for the controlled variable _neither_ approach is
better than the other at determining the intent of the voter.
For example, just because a machine reads a clearly punched
hole as a vote for X doesn't mean that the voter actually
intended to vote for X. The voter (like all those little
Jewish ladies who clearly punched the ballot for Buchanan)
may have misread the ballot; or the voter, not meaning to
vote for anyone, may have slipped and accidentally poked the
hole next to Gore.
So, if the Supreme Court overrules the manual vote count of
non- machine read ballots based on the argument that manual
recounts are less reliable indicators of voter intent than
machine recounts, you can refer the Justices to papers that
describe the _science_ of determining intent (I would love to
talk with Justice Scalia about _Mind Readings_). Then, of course,
they'll understand that machines and people are equally poor
at determining intent and that they will have to find another
approach to ending democracy at the Federal level (Article II
still looks like the best approach to me;-))