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What is the AVOS Counter Check? (was: counter check)

Cathy Colgan wrote:
Guy, I got a question from a customer that notices the counter check on her
tabulator was set at 126.  I know from reading the manual that it is in
internal "thing".  what is the significance of the number. she also said she
asked someone about it once and they set it to zero. is that necessary?  any
info you can give me will help me AccuVote knowledge tree and I am starting
to field lots of questions and am sifting through the problems one by one.
Questions like this are good for the support list so I'm cc'ing it there.

The AVOS counter check is a checksum value computed by summing up all the internal counters and thus will change when the counters change.  A counter check value of zero generally means that all counters are zero although this is not guaranteed.  Due to the way that the counters are stored, the counter check CANNOT be used as any form of counter total.

As an audit procedure, the counter check forms an additional check that the counters have not changed since, say, the election night reports were printed or the memory card was duplicated.  The counter check is printed on memory card labels and long reports and should be used in conjunction with the audit log report.

There is no way to "set it to zero" except by clearing the counters.