Archive for September 12th, 2004

New category: RR Studies

September 12, 2004

I have created a new category on the studies of the recall referendum which you can see on the left column of categories as RR studies. I have placed there all of the articles and posts on the studies from my page, so that they are at a single location. Will not post there articles from other sources. Hope it helps.

Dave Barry and electronic voting

September 12, 2004

Don’t forget to read Dave Barry´s article today on electronic voting. At least it may give you a laugh about our problems.

Dave Barry and electronic voting

September 12, 2004

Don’t forget to read Dave Barry´s article today on electronic voting. At least it may give you a laugh about our problems.

Seminar at Simon Bolivar University: Two presentations

September 12, 2004

Besides the overview presentation by Isabel Llatas, there were two talks at this first seminar:


1)      Statistical study of the CNE data by Bernardo Marquez et al.


 


This is a group of engineers which looked at the statistical properties of the electronic results at the two lowest levels of detail, at the Center level and at the parish level.


 


Basically, the CNE divided the nation into 321 municipalities. Each municipality was divided itself into parishes and the parishes into centers. There were on average 2.6 parishes per municipality and on average there were 5.4 centers per parish. There were on average 10,098 votes per center and 26,486 votes per parish.


 


The study was a statistical hypothesis testing of all of the CNE data. The basic hypothesis was that the CNE data is valid and thus by looking at averages an standard deviations one should be able to establish confidence levels at both the parish and the center level, in terms of votes within a parish or center being in the correct range. By this, it means that they look at the final result of a machine and check whether that result is within what is expected from the statistics of the center or the parish.


 


The authors found that with a 95% confidence level, there are only 7% of the machines at the center level which show unexpected results with respect to the center. In contrast, they found that 62% of the parishes showed unexpected results. If the confidence level was 99% they found 51% of the machines had unexpected results.


 


They then looked at each parish to see how much centers differed within a parish by looking at the standard deviations of each center. Then, they eliminated what they called the non-homogenous centers, those in which the centers within a parish showed significant differences in the standard deviations of the distributions. Thus, they kept only the “homogeneous” parishes and found that with a 95% level of confidence 42% of the machines showed unexpected results and with 99% confidence 26% of the machines showed unexpected results.


 


2)      A study of the coincidences in the votes in the machine by Raul Jimenez (USB), Alfredo Marcano (USB) and Juan Jimenez (UCV)


 


This talk discussed the various simulations that have been done to study the coincidences. It was very critical of Rubin’s and Taylor’s form the technical point of view. I must say that what I was not able to understand the details of what they did, it was beyond my understanding and I tried. Basically, they are using fairly sophisticated mathematical theory to look at the problem and study probabilities of occurrences.


 


In their most detailed work, they looked at the probability of SI and No coincidences as well as the probability that the sum of the Si and No votes also coincides. They obtained a probability of 3.5 in 10,000 for the SI coincidences, reasonable (I think it was 0.3) for the NO and 1 in 1,000,000 for the sum of SI and No to coincide. 


 


This result is being submitted as a scientific paper to a journal next week and the author said he will send me a copy when he send it in to the Journal.

Seminar at Simon Bolivar University: Two presentations

September 12, 2004

Besides the overview presentation by Isabel Llatas, there were two talks at this first seminar:


1)      Statistical study of the CNE data by Bernardo Marquez et al.


 


This is a group of engineers which looked at the statistical properties of the electronic results at the two lowest levels of detail, at the Center level and at the parish level.


 


Basically, the CNE divided the nation into 321 municipalities. Each municipality was divided itself into parishes and the parishes into centers. There were on average 2.6 parishes per municipality and on average there were 5.4 centers per parish. There were on average 10,098 votes per center and 26,486 votes per parish.


 


The study was a statistical hypothesis testing of all of the CNE data. The basic hypothesis was that the CNE data is valid and thus by looking at averages an standard deviations one should be able to establish confidence levels at both the parish and the center level, in terms of votes within a parish or center being in the correct range. By this, it means that they look at the final result of a machine and check whether that result is within what is expected from the statistics of the center or the parish.


 


The authors found that with a 95% confidence level, there are only 7% of the machines at the center level which show unexpected results with respect to the center. In contrast, they found that 62% of the parishes showed unexpected results. If the confidence level was 99% they found 51% of the machines had unexpected results.


 


They then looked at each parish to see how much centers differed within a parish by looking at the standard deviations of each center. Then, they eliminated what they called the non-homogenous centers, those in which the centers within a parish showed significant differences in the standard deviations of the distributions. Thus, they kept only the “homogeneous” parishes and found that with a 95% level of confidence 42% of the machines showed unexpected results and with 99% confidence 26% of the machines showed unexpected results.


 


2)      A study of the coincidences in the votes in the machine by Raul Jimenez (USB), Alfredo Marcano (USB) and Juan Jimenez (UCV)


 


This talk discussed the various simulations that have been done to study the coincidences. It was very critical of Rubin’s and Taylor’s form the technical point of view. I must say that what I was not able to understand the details of what they did, it was beyond my understanding and I tried. Basically, they are using fairly sophisticated mathematical theory to look at the problem and study probabilities of occurrences.


 


In their most detailed work, they looked at the probability of SI and No coincidences as well as the probability that the sum of the Si and No votes also coincides. They obtained a probability of 3.5 in 10,000 for the SI coincidences, reasonable (I think it was 0.3) for the NO and 1 in 1,000,000 for the sum of SI and No to coincide. 


 


This result is being submitted as a scientific paper to a journal next week and the author said he will send me a copy when he send it in to the Journal.

The land the Government works on by Carlos Machado Allison

September 12, 2004

Carlos Machado Allison is a retired Professor from Universidad Central de Venezuela who now Works at IESA. Carlos’s specialty is land use. Personally, I have never heard anyone in Venezuela talk about land use with Carlos’ knowledge, so I thought I would translate parts of his article this week in El Universal on the issue:


 


The land the Government works on by Carlos Machado Allison


 


Agricultural producers know agrarian demagoguery, with its vote capture potential and international sympathy at the expense of destroying trust. Its goal is not to improve production, productivity or the capability to feed the population, after all, powerful and with a good flow of US dollars, the state can continue importing and selling at a loss as long as it creates sympathies among the poor. It is a matter of perpetuating itself in power, Maduro dixit, increasing the size of the bureaucracy and imposing a state capitalism using the style of Mexico in the pre- war


 


In the revolutionary Mexico, General “Tata” Cardenas created the pro-Government Confederacion Campesina (Peasant Federation) (CNC), converted the Mexican Confederation of Workers in to an arm of the Government (1937) and threatened the industrials sector with handing the factories over to the workers, it distributed 19 million Hectares, without forgetting a piece for the revolutionary politicians and generals, created the mega bureaucracy of Pemex, managing to have it lose money for more than 40 years and also reduced agricultural production   by 7%.


 


But the Partido de la Revolucion Mexicana with its sector, workers, peasants, military and popular, rebaptized in 1946 as PRI, remained in power until five years ago. The peasants, like here, lacked title to their property and depended, financially, commercially and technically on the bureaucratic apparatchik. Velasco in Peru and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua did even worse, killing agricultural production, increasing agricultural imports and creating programs and state companies to administer foodstuffs. Poverty and unemployment grew, but the revolutionaries in the unions, bureaucratic positions and mayors and Governors got wealthy: a new oligarchy arose. Much like it is happening here.


 


If the purpose were to give away land, with all of the demagoguery, bureaucratic expense and inefficiency that it implies, there are between 15 and 20 million unproductive hectares in the hands of the state. The truth is that they don’t even know how much they have. Then, why an instantaneous militia census of private land with no technical basis? Why threaten everyone, if the little blue book (the Constitution) clearly says that the Government can expropriate for the public good with a sentence from a Court and payment of fair value. Could it be to threaten the Government’s adversaries while obtaining applauses from the “poor” beneficiaries? There will be some success, some will abandon the business, others will hold on hoping for better times and there will be others who will try to sell, if this Government, full of foreign currency decides to purchase the land, even if it does not know what for.


 


In another early surprise, the President will say that the militia has discovered thousands of unproductive hectares, that people are fattening the land and not the cattle. He will not say that there is unproductive land because consumption has been eroded, because there is unemployment and no personal or judicial security. He will not say either that there is not trustable census of land use and that in six years; agricultural productivity has been the worse in the continent. He will say that the land belongs to those that work it, that is, as long as it does not belong to that large real estate company, the state, which he presides.

The land the Government works on by Carlos Machado Allison

September 12, 2004

Carlos Machado Allison is a retired Professor from Universidad Central de Venezuela who now Works at IESA. Carlos’s specialty is land use. Personally, I have never heard anyone in Venezuela talk about land use with Carlos’ knowledge, so I thought I would translate parts of his article this week in El Universal on the issue:


 


The land the Government works on by Carlos Machado Allison


 


Agricultural producers know agrarian demagoguery, with its vote capture potential and international sympathy at the expense of destroying trust. Its goal is not to improve production, productivity or the capability to feed the population, after all, powerful and with a good flow of US dollars, the state can continue importing and selling at a loss as long as it creates sympathies among the poor. It is a matter of perpetuating itself in power, Maduro dixit, increasing the size of the bureaucracy and imposing a state capitalism using the style of Mexico in the pre- war


 


In the revolutionary Mexico, General “Tata” Cardenas created the pro-Government Confederacion Campesina (Peasant Federation) (CNC), converted the Mexican Confederation of Workers in to an arm of the Government (1937) and threatened the industrials sector with handing the factories over to the workers, it distributed 19 million Hectares, without forgetting a piece for the revolutionary politicians and generals, created the mega bureaucracy of Pemex, managing to have it lose money for more than 40 years and also reduced agricultural production   by 7%.


 


But the Partido de la Revolucion Mexicana with its sector, workers, peasants, military and popular, rebaptized in 1946 as PRI, remained in power until five years ago. The peasants, like here, lacked title to their property and depended, financially, commercially and technically on the bureaucratic apparatchik. Velasco in Peru and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua did even worse, killing agricultural production, increasing agricultural imports and creating programs and state companies to administer foodstuffs. Poverty and unemployment grew, but the revolutionaries in the unions, bureaucratic positions and mayors and Governors got wealthy: a new oligarchy arose. Much like it is happening here.


 


If the purpose were to give away land, with all of the demagoguery, bureaucratic expense and inefficiency that it implies, there are between 15 and 20 million unproductive hectares in the hands of the state. The truth is that they don’t even know how much they have. Then, why an instantaneous militia census of private land with no technical basis? Why threaten everyone, if the little blue book (the Constitution) clearly says that the Government can expropriate for the public good with a sentence from a Court and payment of fair value. Could it be to threaten the Government’s adversaries while obtaining applauses from the “poor” beneficiaries? There will be some success, some will abandon the business, others will hold on hoping for better times and there will be others who will try to sell, if this Government, full of foreign currency decides to purchase the land, even if it does not know what for.


 


In another early surprise, the President will say that the militia has discovered thousands of unproductive hectares, that people are fattening the land and not the cattle. He will not say that there is unproductive land because consumption has been eroded, because there is unemployment and no personal or judicial security. He will not say either that there is not trustable census of land use and that in six years; agricultural productivity has been the worse in the continent. He will say that the land belongs to those that work it, that is, as long as it does not belong to that large real estate company, the state, which he presides.

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