Friday, July 4, 2008

What's Wrong With This Sentence?

Sentence: "Sequoia blamed the discrepancy on pollworker error and said the problem could be fixed with a software update, but state clerks wanted a third-party investigation." Context: A Computerworld article describing irregularities in the February NJ presidential primaries in which the electronic counts in Sequoia machines didn't match the paper log counts of votes.

According to Computerworld, the county clerks had asked Princeton's Ed Felton to look into the matter, but, hearing this, Sequoia threatened legal action saying that Felton's investigation would violate the terms of the licensing agreement. Upon asking the NJ AG for help in dealing with Sequoia, Sequoia chose an outside firm--one of their choice--to analyze the systems and deliver the result to Sequoia and the AG's office. The article closes Even if pollworker error was to blame for the voting discrepancy, the issue should still be addressed, Dressler said. "There should be a fail-safe measure so the election workers can't do that." "This is too important of an issue to be swept under the carpet," he added. "If there is any issue with the Sequoia machines, we should shed a light on it."

Oh, and what was wrong with the sentence? Fixing human error with a software update seems tenuous at best, and it totally ignores the issue of that particular election.

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